The RCMP insists its officers aren’t above the law, and that includes in relation to the alcohol ban on Buffalo River Dene Nation.
The RCMP recently found out that four of its off-duty members had been drinking at a house party in Dillon this May. Dillon is on the Buffalo Rive Dene Nation, and alcohol consumption and possession is prohibited because it’s classified as a dry reserve. This information came out during a separate investigation of the same house party that led to a sexual assault charge against Constable Randy McKay.
Northern district Staff Sergeant Munro says the four officers won’t be charged for consuming alcohol, because their actions weren’t criminal.
Normally, a ticket for having alcohol on a dry reserve is $100, and it’s the RCMP’s role to enforce this Indian Act rule for the reserves that are identified as dry.
“Internal investigation was launched and it’s been dealt with internally. Nobody’s been suspended. It’s basically, they’ll be disciplined in house,” Munro said.
Munro will not say what kind of internal discipline the officers will face, and will not release the names, citing the fact that the matter is not criminal in nature.
Disciplining officers for not upholding the higher expectations the RCMP holds for its officers is mandated under the RCMP Act.
“When in these communities their job is to police, uphold the law, and perform at both a professional level and act at the same level of the general public in regards to, if the laws apply to the general public, they apply to the police,” Munro said.
“So there’s no more of this adage that ‘well, they’re the police, they can get away with it.’ That’s long gone.”
Munro says chief and council had been informed of the conduct of these officers, which Buffalo River’s chief confirms.
When asked why, Munro said “so they know that we are doing our due diligence and we’re not taking the easy way out … we make sure that our members are held accountable.”