Merritt, British Columbia, has the distinction of being the latest RCMP detachment run by an [alleged] criminal and also, it would appear, cocaine addict.
Staff Sergeant Stuart Seib was arrested on Tuesday and charged with stealing cocaine from the RCMP lockup the following day, after he was relieved of command of the Merritt RCMP Detachment.
RCMP Southeast District Commander Superintendant Mike Sekela announced at a news conference held in Chilliwack, BC that additional charges are also in the works for Staff Sergeant Stuart Seib.
The latest in a long line of high-profile screwups by RCMP members, Staff Sergeant Seib is one of the highest ranking RCMP members to face criminal charges.
News reports have said that Seib disclosed his theft and use of cocaine to another RCMP member, and to that other RCMP member’s credit, he or she did NOT try and cover it up or ignore that it happened. Instead the RCMP member appears to have taken new RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson’s recent comments to the press seriously, and reported the incident.
It is very gratifying to see that instead of the usual antics, the RCMP seems very willing to get out in front of this latest fiasco and do everything right. Well, almost everything, anyway. I’ll get to what they should have done momentarily… but first, here’s what they’ve done the way the public expects:
First, they immediately relieved Staff Sergeant Seib of duty and revoked his access to RCMP facilities. They charged him with one criminal offense, and have more charges coming down the pipe after their investigation is completed.
Lastly, and this is the most important thing they did, for a change, and that is to recommend that he immediately be placed on suspension WITHOUT PAY, a process that is supposed to be finalized by Friday.
“The process is underway to proceed with a recommendation that the member be suspended without pay,” said Superintendant Sekela.
This is a marked change from the usual standard of suspending rogue cops with pay that has accompanied so many past RCMP misconduct cases and angered more than a few Canadian citizens.
That’s a very good thing, and sends the message that RCMP Commissioner Paulson actually has the moral authority inside the RCMP to make his mission resonate with the rank and file. While I haven’t seen a public statement from Commissioner Paulson on this case yet, I’m sure we’ll be seeing one shortly, of for no other reason than to emphasize the point that the RCMP is not going to tolerate this crap under his leadership.
The investigation into the missing drugs began on Friday, January 6th, 2012, and had a team of investigators working over the weekend to get to the bottom of things.
In attempt to reassure the public, Superintendent Sekela said,
“While the alleged actions of this member are extremely troubling, they are clearly not representative of the high moral and ethical standards of the vast majority of members of the RCMP.”
I have no doubt this is true.
What is sad is that Sekela needs to remind us of the fact that the majority of RCMP members are good cops. We’ve become so accustomed to scandal and heinous actions by RCMP members here in British Columbia that we NEED that reminder.
Otherwise it’s too easy to think that all RCMP members are lying, thieving drug addicts, or worse.
The task now before the RCMP is to determined how far back Sieb’s drug thefts and drug use actually goes. A recent transfer to the Merritt RCMP detachment, Sieb was stationed in Clearwater, British Columbia prior to that, where, among other ironies, he claimed that drug enforcement was his priority.
I guess! How else do you get a free supply of drugs, unless you’re stealing it from drug dealers?
My snotty attitude aside, I am very grateful that the RCMP seems to finally be handing a case of RCMP misconduct properly.
A little while ago I wrote an article titled RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson gives me hope for the RCMP in which I wrote the following about Commissioner Paulson’s intentions:
Talk is cheap.
Anyone can say the right things at a press conference a few weeks after being sworn in.
It’s like an old boss of mine once said to me the day he hired me.
“Anyone can look good in an interview. Anyone can look good and work hard for a few weeks or even a month or two. The real test is this: how hard will you be working after you’ve been here for six months or a year?”
Well, Commissioner Paulson? You’ve been saying all the right things…
Now it’s time to DO all the right things and rid the RCMP of its thugs, rapists and thieves, and in so doing bring back some integrity and honour to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
It appears, at least on the surface, that Commissioner Paulson is a man of his word.
It’s about time we had one of those heading the RCMP.