Lower Mainland constable who drove drunk with police dog in vehicle fined 30 days

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A Lower Mainland RCMP officer who drove drunk with his gun and his police dog in his vehicle will keep his job, but was penalized 30 days pay and kicked out of the canine program.

The impaired driving incident began on April 9, 2020, when Const. Blaise Picketts, driving his unmarked RCMP Chevrolet Tahoe, met with another officer and other dog handlers for a training session on their day off, according to an RCMP Ethics Committee ruling issued this spring. , published on the RCMP website.

Afterwards, they drove to the home of one of the other officers in Langley to socialize, Picketts stopping at a liquor store to buy liquor along the way.

Sometime after 4 p.m., Picketts left in his police cruiser to pick up more alcohol, returned home, and continued drinking.

He left home around 2 a.m. on April 10 and drove to Maple Ridge.

“While crossing the Golden Ears Bridge, Officer Picketts scraped his police vehicle into the concrete barrier on the side of the bridge, causing approximately $7,000 in damage to the rear and passenger side of the vehicle,” according to the decision of the conduct committee.

Picketts has since reimbursed the RCMP for the cost of the repairs.

He pulled up to a Maple Ridge Burger King drive-thru and fell asleep at the wheel. The engine was running and a credit card was in his hand. A Burger King employee attempted to wake Picketts, but while he was still unconscious after about 20 minutes, the employee got scared and called 9-1-1.

Ridge Meadows RCMP found Picketts asleep just before 3 a.m. and also noticed the RCMP carbine, a firearm, still inside the vehicle.

The officers who arrived first were initially unsure if Picketts was a co-worker or someone who stole an RCMP vehicle.

They eventually woke him up and tried to get Picketts – who had red eyes, slurred words and couldn’t walk straight – to take a breathalyzer test to measure his blood alcohol level, but Picketts either bit the straw of the device, or turned his head. , or would not blow hard enough.

He was arrested for failing to provide a breath sample and driving under the influence.

“During his arrest, Constable Picketts refused to comply with police requests and became uncooperative,” the decision said. “He shouted words to the effect of ‘f—k off’ and ‘I’m not under arrest’ at the officers.”

He physically resisted arrest, putting his arms under his body, reaching out and finally grabbing the handcuffs, injuring a Ridge Meadows officer’s thumb in the process.

Officers called for backup and several officers had to get him into a police vehicle.

A search of the vehicle found an open liquor can and Picketts’ police dog was still inside. Another dog service officer had to pick up the dog.

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Even when reserved, Picketts was combative, lowering his head and waving his finger at the camera when photographed in the cells. He had to be handcuffed and physically forced into the cell where he was left to sober up.

Picketts has previously pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, serving three months of probation and being fined $1,000.

The decision found that Picketts had committed three violations of the RCMP Code of Conduct, including the dishonorable conduct section.

The ruling also noted that his conduct put both the public and his own police dog at risk. The decision indicates that he abused his position as dog handler, as this role allowed him to drive the RCMP vehicle home.

As punishment, Picketts will lose 30 days of pay, 15 days of annual leave and cannot be promoted for three years.

He will be transferred out of the police dog services, will have to undergo medical treatment under supervision and will have to apologize in person to the four officers who arrested him.

At the time of the incident, Picketts had 13 years of service with the RCMP and served as the acting non-commissioned officer in charge of the canine unit from time to time.

“A member with his tenure should know better,” the ruling said.

He has two earlier, unrelated disciplinary findings from 2015.

Mitigating factors considered in the decision included the fact that Picketts previously suffered from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as “alcohol use disorder”, as well as the fact that Picketts had sought treatment immediately after the incident.

But for his attempts to rehabilitate himself, being fired from the force would have been the appropriate punishment, according to the ruling.


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