Testimony from most experienced RCMP officer so far concludes day three of inquest, however he was not in Onion Lake at the time of Wolfe’s passing
Corporal Christopher Doctor was the final witness of Thursday.
Doctor has been a member of the RCMP for 16 years, first starting in the RCMP in 2006 in Newfoundland. His fourth posting was in Onion Lake.
He was the detachment supervisor in Onion Lake. Technically Cpl. Doctor would have been second in command at the Onion Lake RCMP detachment.
When asked what the RCMP could do to prevent similar deaths in the future Doctor replied “I honestly don’t know.” He also confirmed previous testimony that there was no new policy from the RCMP in response to the death of Randy Wolfe.
Doctor was not in Onion Lake on October 11,12 in 2019. He was in London, Ontario attending a wedding.
Coroner Blaine Beaven asked about the acronym “OSI” being written on the booking form for Randy Wolfe. Doctor says that would stand for Officer Safety Issue, but says he does not know who would have wrote that, but says usually it is best practice to not write in abbreviations on these forms.
Doctor says he did provide training to the civilian guards in 2020, which included a PowerPoint presentation.
The inquest was adjourned to Thursday morning. Only one more person is set to testify.
Officer who searched Randy Wolfe when he came to the detachment speaks at the inquest
Constable Jacob Isaacs had been at the Onion Lake detachment for about a year and a half when Randy Wolfe passed away.
Isaacs confirmed other officers testimony that there was no new policy specific to Randy Wolfe’s death implemented at the Onion Lake detachment following his death.
The RCMP constable testified he recognized signs of impairment in Randy Wolfe including slurred speech, difficulty with motor functions, and a generally “bubbly” and “giggly” behaviour. He says Wolfe was cooperative and answered questions as asked.
He says he did not fill out any of the booking forms for Randy Wolfe and his responsibility was to search Wolfe. Isaacs says he did ask Wolfe if he had anything to drink and says Wolfe jokingly replied “not enough.” He says he does not recall asking Wolfe if he consumed any drugs and also says he doesn’t remember if another officer asked Wolfe that question.
Isaacs was asked by coroners counsel if he had any recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future Isaacs offered his “opinion” that more training is never a bad thing. He says if there was a course offered to him to recognize potential drug overdose he would take it.
The inquest was adjourned for 30 minutes to wait for the arrival of another witness.
Inquest hears from officer in charge of criminal investigation of which Randy Wolfe was involved
The third witness of the day was Constable Lindsey Fisher – an RCMP officer who was stationed at the Onion Lake detachment in October 2019.
Fisher is now an instructor of operational skills for the RCMP based out of Chilliwak, BC. She was based in Onion Lake for about 2 and a half years at the time of Wolfe’s death.
The RCMP constable says there was no new policy changes at the detachment following Wolfe’s death, corroborating previous testimony from other officers.
Fisher was the lead investigator of the criminal investigation involving the reported shooting and the vehicle that Randy Wolfe was in that fled from police – eventually being stopped with a spike belt.
RCMP Major Crimes was initially brought in to investigate Randy Wolfe’s passing, but the investigation was soon passed over to the Moose Jaw Police Service for a third-party investigation.
Being the lead investigator on the original criminal matter she was asked about the decision to release all the other passengers in the vehicle before MJPS investigators could arrive. Fisher says it was the call of RCMP Major Crimes to release those individuals.
Fisher was then pressed about what happened with the original criminal investigation and if anyone was charged in the matter and she says she does not recall.
Fisher testified that when looking over the screening questions when Randy Wolfe was booked into the detachment, she says she asked if Randy had consumed any alcohol and drugs. She says Wolfe didn’t answer immediately and says at that point another RCMP officer responded that there were drugs and alcohol in the car.
The RCMP constable says she did not know if Wolfe had consumed drugs before being booked into the detachment.
Speaking on the booking form for Randy Wolfe, she is aware that at least two other officers filled out parts of the form. Fisher says there is no policy from the RCMP that would prohibit more than one person from filling in the form. Earlier in the inquest, the lead investigator into Wolfe’s death from the Moose Jaw Police Service said that was unusual practice for his police service and he says he feels these forms are best filled out by one person with another officer supervising.
Constable Fisher was asked if there were any courses on recognizing drug overdose and she says there is a drug recognition course, but says she has not taken the course, so she could not answer if it would provide training on how to recognize a possible overdose on crystal meth.
Fisher was then questioned by counsel for Randy Wolfe’s family about improved note taking for RCMP officers and asked if she felt that could be a recommendation for the jury. However, the RCMP constable says she couldn’t think of a specific recommendation that will help improve officer note taking.
Cst. Leblond testimony concludes after lunch
The inquest returned after lunch with Jock Kriegler, counsel for Randy Wolfe’s mother Elaine McAdam, asking questions of Leblond.
Kriegler asked about any cultural training she received at the RCMP Depot, which she says included a blanket ceremony lead by Indigenous elders. She also spoke on a week-long course she took after her training she says was called “Aboriginal perceptions” at the time. She says this course included shares from residential school survivors, and other Indigenous speakers, as well cadets would learn some of the different cultural practices of the Cree and Dene communities in the province.
Leblond also says there are new courses on cultural sensitivity that come out every few years for RCMP officers to partake in.
Kriegler also asked further questions about Wolfe’s arrest and transport to the detachment along with the forms filled out for his booking at the facility.
Officer who transferred Wolfe to the RCMP detachment testifys, inquest breaks for lunch
Next to testify at the inquest was Sylvie Leblond a constable with the RCMP detachment at Onion Lake.
In October 2019, Onion Lake was Leblond’s first posting with the RCMP and was currently apart of the field-training program as she had only been a member of the RCMP for just over two months.
Leblond arrived to the scene after Randy Wolfe had been arrested as she was travelling back to Onion Lake from Lloydminster. She testified that Wolfe was then transferred to her unmarked RCMP vehicle and she was tasked with taking him back to the attachment.
The RCMP constable was under the impression that Wolfe was intoxicated. Leblond says he was talking to himself out loud, however says when she would talk to him Wolfe would respond back “appropriately”, but then would continue to talk to himself. According to Leblond it was about a 15-minute drive to the detachment.
She then spoke on the process of booking him in to the detachment. Leblond identified her part in filling out the booking form with some of the information from her, but she says several other details were filled out by other officers. She was asked about screening questions on the form that would ask if an individual has taken drugs or alcohol. Leblond she testified she never asked any of these screening questions and didn’t know if another officer had asked these questions.
Leblond was then asked about the release of the other passengers in the vehicle Randy Wolfe was arrested in. Third party investigators shared their frustration that these passengers were released from custody before they arrived to Onion Lake. Leblond says she couldn’t speak to why these passengers were released as they weren’t her file.
Coroner’s counsel then asked if she ever asked if Randy Wolfe had taken any drugs prior to being taken to the detachment and she said “no.”
When asked about recommendations she could provide to the jury to help them in their deliberations Leblond said “I can’t really say.”
Leblond was asked about a lack of policy the Onion Lake RCMP detachment had in response to a drug overdose response to ensure the other people in the detachment jail cells are safe. She was asked if a policy of that nature could prevent similar deaths in the future she said “a potential that it could.”
The RCMP constable also says she agrees more supports should be made available to civilian guards and agrees more training to recognize crystal meth overdose would be beneficial.
The inquest then adjourned for lunch before cross examination by counsel for Randy Wolfe’s family.
Thursday testimony begins with RCMP officer involved in Wolfe’s arrest who also performed CPR on Wolfe in the cell
The first witness on Thursday was now Corporal Bradley Rumboldt of the RCMP, who was a constable at the Onion Lake RCMP detachment at the time of Randy Wolfe’s passing.
Rumboldt spoke on the night Wolfe was arrested. He says Wolfe complied with all directions he gave and was taken into custody relatively easily.
The RCMP officer was also asked about the Watch Guard system in his RCMP vehicle, which is the system that provides video footage. Rumboldt says the system in the vehicle he was in wasn’t working and he had put in a request to get it fixed months earlier.
When asked by coroner’s counsel Robin Ritter on if a quicker fix on these problems would be helpful, he agreed.
Rumboldt testified he saw evidence of crystal meth in the vehicle Randy Wolfe was arrested in, but says he wasn’t immediately involved in booking Wolfe at the detachment.
He says he was at the detachment when Wolfe was discovered unresponsive in his cell. He says he went into the cell, checked for a pulse, asked another officer to call for EMS, and started providing CPR. However, he does say he believed Wolfe was already dead at the time, but said he would not be an expert on the matter.
Rumboldt was also asked about mental health support he received from the RCMP in the wake of this incident. He says he received counselling support and when told that civilian guards weren’t given the same level of after care he agreed that is something that would be helpful moving forward.
Rumboldt also spoke about the different members of the RCMP who filled in Randy Wolfe’s booking forms. He says he added information to the form he felt were missing some details. Earlier in the week, Kevin Adrians of the Moose Jaw Police Service suggested this practice, in his opinion, is better when completed by one officer monitored by a supervisor.
Coroner’s counsel then asked about the relationship between the detachment and the Onion Lake Cree Nation community. Rumboldt says his personal relationships were good, but says he couldn’t speak to the broader relationship between chief and council in the commanding officers.
The RCMP officer also testified that no other precautions were taken for any other inmates after Randy Wolfe had died, which is common practice for correctional centres when an overdose occurs.
The Public Inquest into the death of Randy Wolfe at a cell at the Onion Lake RCMP detachment continues on Thursday.
Here is a recap from the first and second day of the inquest.
A total of 6 witnesses are expected to testify today.
(PHOTO – Randy Wolfe, courtesy of the Marshall Funeral Service)