Well, my original pick for the number 2 spot, RCMP Corporal Monty Robinson, just keeps getting kicked further down the list.
Today I bring you instead my Reason #3 for British Columbia to dump the RCMP: Lisa Cheryl Dudley.
Lisa Dudley would be alive today if it were not for the ineptness of the RCMP Constable sent to investigate 6 gunshots at the residence where she died.
That's a pretty bold statement, but one that Mark and Rosemarie Surakka stands behind 100%.
Their daughter and her boyfriend, Guthrie McKay, were shot in their Mission home on September 18th, 2008. Guthrie apparently died almost immediately, but Lisa Dudley lay, seriously wounded and unable to move, in a recliner in the livingroom of her home for 4 days before she finally died.
RCMP Constable Mike White was dispatched to the scene just after a 911 call reported 6 shots fired along with Constable Samantha Audley but [allegedly] neither constable could be bothered to do their job. Lisa's parents firmly believe that if Constable White and Constable Audley had bothered to get out of their police cruiser Lisa Dudley would be alive to day.
"I believe that they would have found the murder scene and helped her out. For someone to live four days, paralyzed, is most uncomfortable to think about," said Lisa Dudley's stepfather, Mark Surakka.
Lisa Dudley's death is a direct result of his inaction. He was the officer in charge. Responsibility lies at his feet alone, although I certainly hope both he and Constable Samantha Audley have a hard time sleeping as a result of their inaction that night.
Had they bothered to talk to the person who made the 911 call or checked the address where the gunshots reportedly took place he would have discovered Lisa Dudley, still alive, and she could have received the medical aid she desperately needed.
Instead Constable White laughed and joked with the 911 operator and sat in his patrol car. Guess it must have been raining and he didn't feel like getting wet.
It was only a "shots fired" call, after all. It obviously wasn't anything serious. <yeah, I'm being sarcastic>
It wasn't until 4 days later that a neighbour actually went over to Lisa's home and looked in the windows. Paramedics were called immediately and arrived while Lisa Dudley was still alive, but she never lived to see the hospital. She died enroute.
Mark and Rosemarie Surakka finally were able to pry the audio recording of the conversation between RCMP Constable Mike White and the 911 dispatcher and you can listen to it in the CBC news report on this story.
It took the threat of a lawsuit by The Commision for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to get the RCMP to finally release the 911 call audio.
I've reprinted the transcript of that audio recording below, but you've really got to listen to it for the complete effect of Constable White's utter lack of concern to truly sink in.
Dispatcher: Radio. Theresa.White: Hello.Dispatcher: Hi.White: “Six gunshots in a row and a crash.”Dispatcher: YeahWhite: (sound of chuckling)Dispatcher: Yeah, exactly.White: (sound of chuckling)Dispatcher: Don't ya love this?White: Yeah, I'll head out.
It's disgusting to listen to an RCMP member respond with such a complete and utter lack of caring.
Sure, at the time of the call he had no way of knowing Lisa Dudley was depending on him for her very life. So what?
He had no way of knowing that she was so seriously wounded that she couldn't even crawl to a phone; that she lay bleeding to death as he laughed and would spend the last 4 days of her life alone, in agony, praying that someone would come and save her life.
Does that make his callous disregard for the possibility that someone was in danger in any way acceptable?
A Cold, Brutal Reality
The duty of RCMP Constable Mike White and Constable Samantha Audley, sadly, is NOT to save the lives of anyone.
Their primary duty is "to follow orders."
The RCMP's own Oath of Office that every graduate from Depot must take before becoming a Constable makes that exceedingly clear.
I... solemnly swear that I will faithfully, diligently and impartially execute and
perform the duties required of me as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police, and will well and truly obey and perform all lawful orders and instructions
that I receive as such, without fear, favour or affection of or toward any person.
To quote from "Dispersing the Fog: Inside the Secret World of Ottawa and the RCMP" by Paul Palango:
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have an oath of office radically different from every other Canadian police service. It translates into an oath of loyalty to the force rather than the people of Canada. Obeying orders is placed as the highest level of importance.
That is something I would expect out of an essay on Nazi Germany, not Canada's RCMP. "I was Just Following Orders" was the Nuremberg Defense, right?
I can't speak for you when I say this... I can only speak for myself when I say that I do NOT want a police force in British Columbia whose "Prime Directive" is the protection of its members at all costs.
When the actions of their members, as in the case of Constable Mike White and Constable Samantha Audley, are directly responsible for the death of Lisa Dudley... remember, she lay in a reclining chair shot, paralysed and dying for 4 more days... *I* want a police force that will send a very strong message that such dereliction of duty will NOT be tolerated.
Is that what we have in British Columbia right now?
Not only was the 911 phone call not used as evidence against Constable Mike White at his disciplinary hearing, he was docked a whole day's pay for leaving a woman to ultimately die from her wounds 4 days later... a death he could have prevented if he'd just been willing to take the time to find the house and get out of his police cruiser.
Neither he nor Constable Samantha Audley could be bothered to do that.
As the CBC article reports so clearly... Constable White's biggest regret is that
"his name had been 'associated negatively' with the incident."
I've got two things to say to that:
1. It's not "an incident", it's the death of a woman that would have been prevented had you done your job, and
2. Had you done you job I'd be writing a very different article about you Corporal White. (Yes, he's been promoted since this "incident" happened.)
I'd be writing about what a hero you were for saving a woman from certain death.
But that's not what you did, is it? No, you "had trouble locating the man’s house in the heavily treed neighbourhood that had many gated driveways."
The citizens of British Columbia expect a far greater effort from our police force when it sends Constables to investigate reports of multiple gunshots.
You can read the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team's report that said, in part, that:
"The explanation provided by both officers (Constable Mike White and Constable Samantha Audley) during the Public Complaints Commission investigation fell short of a 'reasonable officer response' and should be challenged."