Mountie faces drunk-driving charges after crash
Vancouver police are recommending drunk-driving charges against an RCMP officer who was involved in a crash on the Second Narrows Bridge over the weekend.
The off-duty RCMP officer was arrested early Saturday after he lost control of his vehicle on the bridge and crashed into a barrier. Two passengers suffered minor injuries.
The officer later provided a breath sample that was over the legal limit, police said.
The officer is based in the RCMP's Vancouver headquarters and works in the unit that protects diplomats. The officer, who has not been identified, has been reassigned to administrative duties.
"It's very disappointing set of circumstances," said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Tim Shields. "We all know better and we can do better."
A review of previous drunk-driving cases involving officers reveals that the punishment almost never leads to dismissal.
RCMP Cpl. Darren Barker was docked 10 days of pay after he was arrested weaving through traffic.
New Westminster police Const. Tomi Hamner was fined $1,000 after she crashed the department's police van.
There are other cases before the courts.
Surrey RCMP Officer Kulwant Malhi is accused of driving drunk, crashing into another car and leaving the scene.
Vancouver police Const. Peter Hodson has a court date next week for impaired driving.
Almost one year after Cpl. Monty Robinson allegedly ran over and killed a motorcyclist, police have recommended charges but none have been laid.
Just last week, a Coquitlam RCMP officer was accused of driving drunk after leaving a casino.
Random breathalyzer tests?
In Ottawa, lawmakers are considering a new law that would allow police agencies to conduct random breathalyzer tests.
The law currently allows police to administer breathalyzer tests only if they suspect a driver has been drinking.
Supporters say changing the law could deter people from driving drunk.
But civil libertarians argue that it would go too far.
"As far as we are concerned currently the police haven't earned the right to have additional discretional powers to decide on a whim that someone should have to provide them with a breath sample," said Dave Eby of the BC Civil Liberties Association.
Patrick Buchanan said, if it saves lives, he supports it.
His sister, Theresa Newman, was killed by a drunk driver while working as a flag person in a Kelowna construction zone three-and-a-half years ago.
"If it's going to save a sister, save a mom, save a dad. save a two-year-old-child ... it's worth doing."
Similar laws are already in place in other countries, including Australia and Ireland, and have been credited with a drop in fatalities.
With reports from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward and Kent Molgat.