A Nanaimo RCMP officer has been reprimanded and Nanaimo RCMP detachment has changed its evidence handling procedures following an internal investigation into a missing evidence case.
The action stems from simultaneous code of conduct and criminal investigations started in February 2011 after it was discovered in December 2010 that $10,000 cash and 0.3 grams of cocaine had gone missing from a temporary evidence storage locker.
Findings from that code of conduct investigation, conducted by officers from Island District RCMP in Victoria, were announced at a public hearing at the Coast Bastion Inn Monday and Tuesday.
Const. Tyler Jensen, 34, who has been with RCMP eight years and is now on administrative duties with South Island Highway Patrol, is alleged to have left his locker unattended for a short period of time and instead of securing his key on his person, had left it in a duty bag.
“(The evidence items) were put into the member’s secure personal locker,” Supt. Norm McPhail, Nanaimo RCMP detachment commanding officer.
Each officer in the detachment is issued a padlock and a key they use on a locker, which they can use to temporarily store evidence and other items securely. Money and other items are accounted for by two officers before they are put in the locker.
“Once they put the proper exhibit tagging on that it’s taken into the vault and so the items went missing from the member’s personal locker by virtue that they put their padlock on,” McPhail said. “An investigation was conducted into what we believe was the theft of $10,000 cash, which was missing from the exhibits, as well as an administrative review into how we are managing our exhibits.”
Jensen has been docked four days’ pay and will receive disciplinary action from his commanding officer.
Jensen also consented to a search of his personal locker where investigators found a set of brass knuckles, which Jensen had confiscated on a previous investigation. Brass knuckles are a prohibited weapon in Canada.
Jensen allegedly was unable to recall from which investigation the brass knuckles were confiscated and had not forwarded the exhibit through proper protocol, McPhail said, for which Jensen faced a second code of conduct hearing, was docked an additional two days’ pay and will receive another formal reprimand from his commanding officer.
The criminal investigation into the missing money is continuing.
“We are yet to solve the criminal case,” McPhail said. “It’s treated as a criminal case. The money’s missing. We can’t find any reason where it could be lost or how it could be lost. Complete searches have been done.”
McPhail pointed out that there are currently no charges or allegations against Jensen from the criminal investigation.
“This (code of conduct investigation) was all focussed on his specific handling of exhibits taken into his custody and his responsibility for those items,” McPhail said.
The detachment has since installed a drop safe that evidence cash and valuables must be dropped into, which is only accessible by the detachment’s evidence custodian, plus high-resolution video surveillance cameras were installed in hallways and areas of the interim evidence exhibits locker and all other areas exposed to exhibits during the cell renovation carried out over the winter months.
“We can actually now see who enters and leaves the room, who’s there and all that stuff,” McPhail said.