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Photo of police tape at a crime scene.

KHALED ABDULLA/REUTER

There is a shared sense of disappointment in the ranks of Fredericton police and the public over the suspension of five officers, the force's chief said Thursday.

Leanne Fitch took the unusual step of calling a news conference Thursday to address concerns over the recent suspensions of the Fredericton officers.

Chief Fitch said she thinks it is unprecedented to have that many members of one force off at one time.

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"We know these affect the public reputation of the Fredericton police force and the morale of those working in the department," she said. "I also know that this feeling of disappointment is present in our community … I cannot emphasize enough that the city remains in good hands."

She would not comment on the specifics of the suspensions, but said they involve alleged impaired driving, shoplifting and misappropriation of funds.

The New Brunswick Police Commission said in June that it received a complaint from Chief Fitch about one of her officers over the alleged misappropriation of funds from the New Brunswick Police Association.

In another matter, Chief Fitch said Fredericton police arrested one of their own Sunday for impaired driving after a single-vehicle crash.

Both members were suspended with pay as per the New Brunswick Police Act.

Chief Fitch said all of the officers are with the Fredericton force, but were off duty at the time of the alleged infractions.

Chief Fitch revealed that some of the officers are repeat offenders and have records of discipline on file, but offered no other details.

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She said she wanted to reassure the public that the loss of five officers wasn't compromising policing services in the city.

"Please rest assured that these current issues will not detract the Fredericton police force from focusing on our primary mandate, which is to serve and protect this city," she said.

The New Brunswick Police Commission said in a statement Thursday that the alleged offences sullied the reputation of the force.

"The alleged criminal conduct we are witnessing of late by a very small segment of the Fredericton Police Force is, if substantiated through the disciplinary process, a humiliation to their profession and a breach of the public's trust," it said.

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