RCMP Constable Michael Roe, a 24-year veteran of the force, was arrested outside his home by members of the Langley RCMP detachment after neighbours called to report hearing gunshots on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.
Constable Roe now finds himself on the wrong side of the law and spent the night in Langley RCMP lockup before being taken for a court appearance at Surrey Provincial Court on Thursday.
Constable Roe was serving with the federal drug unit at the time of his firearm incident.
The investigation into exactly what happened inside the family home goes on, but what is known is that multiple shots were fired inside Roe’s residence and that his wife and children were all inside the home with him at the time those shots were fired.
Nobody was injured by the shots which, according to police, were fired into a wall of the condo.
Constable Michael Roe was immediately placed on suspension (currently with pay) and faces Criminal Code charges as well as an internal RCMP Code of Conduct investigation.
The decision on whether to have his pay revoked while on suspension is still to be made.
Off-duty RCMP members are subject to the same laws as any law-abiding firearm owner in Canada. They are required to store their service pistols unloaded, trigger-locked inside a secure locking container that is not easily broken open or into. That’s how the regulation reads.
Inspector Amrik Virk, second-in-command of the Langley RCMP, did say some refreshing things to reporters in response to questions about this case.
“This investigation is going to continue in terms of what caused this incident,” Virk said.
However, police had passed enough information along to Crown prosecutors to support the careless use charge by Thursday afternoon. Investigators spent the entire night at the house and only returned to the Langley detachment after noon.
“RCMP officers have to be held to a high standard.”
That’s something I’ve been saying for a very long time. Maybe the RCMP is finally beginning to listen.
While the facts are not known, it sounds like a domestic dispute gone bad, and the RCMP has more than its fair share of those cases. Unfortunately, when RCMP members “lose it” due to the stress of their job it’s often the family that finds themselves on the wrong end of an RCMP service pistol.
Last year Kelowna RCMP Staff Sergeant Owen Wlodarczak pleaded guilty to assault and careless use of a firearm after he was arrested for punching his wife in the head half a dozen times and then holding his loaded service pistol to her head while his children watched in horror.
In that case, Wlodarczak was sentenced to a 3-year conditional sentence, something that outraged me at the time and still causes the blood pressure to rise just a little. Had one of us mere citizens done that we’d be in prison for over a decade, not walking free with a badge and a gun.
That small rant about the sentencing double-standard when police break the law aside, what seems to be clear is that the RCMP needs to do a much better job of ensuring its members get the help they need, even when they don’t ask for it. Perhaps especially when they don’t ask for it.
After a cop loses it and holds a gun to his wife’s head, or shoots up his townhouse with his entire family inside is far too late.