An RCMP officer who was transferred to British Columbia after being disciplined for sexual misconduct in Alberta has been warned not to step out of line again.
“It is the exact kind of behaviour we need to eliminate,” Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens said on Thursday about the actions that got Sergeant Don Ray busted down a rank from Staff Sergeant, suspended for 10 days and transferred to B.C.
The veteran police officer was found guilty of seven allegations of disgraceful conduct over a three-year period in Alberta – for having sex with subordinates, sexually harassing them and drinking with them at work.
Those are the kinds of acts that Deputy Commissioner Callens is on a mission to eliminate in B.C., and he said he won’t be tolerating any more misconduct from Sgt. Ray.
“If he reoffends in a way in which he has been found to have acted in Alberta, he will be immediately removed from duty, I will be seeking his dismissal from the force and I would characterize his behaviour to be so outrageous that I would be recommending his pay and benefits be stopped immediately,” Deputy Commissioner Callens said at a press conference.
Asked why Sgt. Ray hadn’t been fired already, Deputy Commissioner Callens said that is because of the disciplinary process that is in place now. One, he added, that needs to be “modernized” to better reflect current values.
He said he was asked last fall to accept Sgt. Ray in transfer, and he agreed because he felt B.C. is setting a higher standard for sexual harassment than any other detachment in the country.
“Why am I confident we won’t have any more problems with Sgt. Ray? I can’t think of a better division for Sgt. Ray to come to, quite frankly. I don’t think there is a division in the force that is more progressive today in terms of creating an atmosphere within which it is clearly understood that gender-based harassment and other misconduct will not be tolerated,” Deputy Commissioner Callens said.
He said a 50-point action plan will soon be rolled out in B.C. that will set out new guidelines aimed at ending harassment on the job.
And he said accepting Sgt. Ray into the ranks in B.C. is not a sign that he is going soft on the issue.
“I have heard some question my commitment to harassment in the work place. My commitment has not changed,” he said, noting he wants to “change the culture” of the RCMP, which has been plagued by allegations of sexual harassment of female officers.
Asked what he would say to female officers who might be concerned about working with Sgt. Ray, Deputy Commissioner Callens said: “They need not be afraid … I will not place any employee in a position where they are afraid to come to work or to be at work.”