A 31-year-veteran of the Calgary Police Service has been charged with snooping on a person’s private information, after the victim of the privacy breach reported it to the force.
According to the CPS, the officer in question is accused of using two police databases 96 times between June 1, 2019 and July 9, 2020 to “find information he did not need for a valid law enforcement purpose.”
“The victim became aware of the breaches last summer and notified our Professional Standards Section,” CPS said in a news release.
“An internal investigation was launched and the officer’s access to police databases was suspended.”
The police service said any public employee found to be accessing protected information for reasons other than delivering a public service can be fined up to $10,000.
“Our service does not take it for granted that we are entrusted with private and often very sensitive information about the people we serve,” police Chief Mark Neufeld said.
“This is a responsibility we take very seriously, and it is completely unacceptable if any officer or civilian employee accesses private information without a valid reason.”
Sgt. Kevin Knight was charged with one count each of accessing information in contravention of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and using or disclosing information in contravention of the Act.
Knight is still on duty, the CPS said, and is assigned to an area where access to police databases is not required.
In addition to the charges, Knight will be subject to an internal disciplinary process which will consider whether his actions were lawful, and followed the police service’s training and policies. Decisions on an officer’s status during an investigation are made based on factors like risk to the public, available options for modified duties and “procedural fairness,” CPS said.
“There is a range of potential outcomes if an officer is found guilty of misconduct, including changes to policies and training, a reprimand, demotion, pay deductions, a suspension or dismissal,” the CPS said.
The police service said database searches and network activity are tracked to ensure employees are only accessing private information for police business, and specific activities can be flagged for investigation.
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