[lg policy] Canada: Fredericton police broke language and conduct guidelines, investigation finds

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat Feb 3 11:12:05 EST 2018

 Fredericton police broke language and conduct guidelines, investigation
February 2, 2018 Kaplan Contributor

A complaint filed against the Fredericton Police Force over the way two
officers responded to a request for service in French during a traffic stop
last summer has resulted in disciplinary action and three recommended

An investigation by the New Brunswick Police Commission found the two
officers did not comply fully with the province‘s Official Languages ​​Act
or with the force‘s language policies and procedures.

“The Fredericton Police Force takes the findings of the commission‘s
investigative report very seriously,” Chief Leanne Fitch said in a
statement Thursday.

“We will continue to make improvements to address a number of
recommendations outlined in the report.”

Katherine d‘Entremont, the commissioner of official languages, could not
immediately be reached for comment.

The complaint was filed June 13 by two women who said they had received
unprofessional and intimidating treatment after their car was pulled over
by police on Smythe Street on June 11.

In an interview with CBC News in July, the passenger said the driver told
police she did not speak English and would need to be addressed in French,
which was her right.

The first two police officers who came to the car, however, would speak
only in English, the passenger said, and one of them told her he was sure
she, too, spoke English.

The passenger told CBC News that after the driver informed police she would
wait the 30 to 45 minutes for a French-speaking officer, the officer
conducting the traffic stop yelled that he would fine her for failure to
produce insurance.

The names of the two officers involved will not be released and details of
their settlement agreement are also confidential. (Daniel McHardie/CBC)

Eventually, a third officer, who was bilingual, arrived to handle
the traffic stop. The driver was issued tickets for an expired registration
and failure to produce proof of insurance.

The complaint contained seven allegations, but only two were upheld, said
Fitch, without elaborating.

The New Brunswick Police Commission investigated a conduct complaint
against the two officers and a service complaint against the force under
two sections of the New Brunswick Police Act, according to executive
director Steve Roberge.

“There were indeed disciplinary processes” against the two officers,
confirmed Roberge.

But he said he could not release the names of the officers, the nature of
their conduct or details about the disciplinary action because the matter
did not proceed to a public arbitration hearing.

Fitch said the officers had to attend a settlement conference, but
settlement agreements are confidential under the Police Act.

“We acknowledge that traffic stops can be challenging,” she said. “Officers
must consider a number of variables with each encounter to ensure the
public and officer safety.”


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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