Allegations of harrassment, neglect of duty
A city police officer credited for turning around the service’s dive team faced several charges under the Police Services Act at a disciplinary hearing yesterday.
Sgt. Andy Roach faces one count of neglect of duty after he allegedly left a mandatory underwater search and recovery training site at Miron Pit to teach a private diving course, and two counts of discreditable conduct for allegedly giving a gift certificate obtained through a United Way fundraising campaign to an officer, and for engaging in harassment towards an officer under his command.
Constable Brent MacIntyre, part of the underwater search and recovery unit, felt that Roach was knowledgeable in his job but suggested it wasn’t always enjoyable to go to work.
"I believe Sgt. Roach’s leadership style negatively impacted on the team at times."
MacIntyre said that on Oct. 18, 2005, Roach left his dive team with instructions before leaving for a meeting. Constable Trevor MacMillan testified he had taken a diving course taught by Roach through Sharkey’s on Wellington Street that day.
MacIntyre also said Roach gave him two gift certificates for a local eatery. Counsel Bill Carroll said Roach used to thank staff for contributing to the United Way.
While Roach was sometimes "buddy-buddy," other times, "it was more of a dictatorship," said Constable Mehdy Khalid, a former dive team member.
He recalled an incident at Morrison Quarry in Quebec in 2005 where Constable Marc-André Sheehy, who was Roach’s partner on the dive, was helping to adjust a mask on Roach’s head.
Khalid alleged Roach said "don’t (expletive) touch me" and pushed Sheehy away.
"You understand that the role of a sergeant is to instruct a constable," said Carroll. "The structure of the police service means that orders given from a sergeant to a constable, unless they are illegal or life-threatening, are to be obeyed. And that structure, for some of you, was hard to take."
The hearing continues today.