Police Officer Was Never Trained to Not Be Corrupt

"Can you fasten your seat belt, please?" the flight attendant asked. "We'll be taking off shortly." I was in a plane sitting on the tarmac, getting ready to take off, when the flight attendant stopped by with her request.

"I can't," I said, looking a bit mischievous. "You haven't showed us how yet."

I was referring to the pre-flight instructions where they tell you where the doors were, how to operate a flotation vest, and how to operate a seat belt.

She rolled her eyes and told me to fasten it anyway.

You would think we wouldn't need instructions on operating a seat belt, but there are people who still don't know that a face mask goes over their noses either, so. . .

I imagine flight attendants have to explain how to fasten seat belts because someone got injured during some turbulence once and said no one told them how to do it.

Because there's always some idiot who does something everyone knows not to do and blames their own ignorance for their behavior.

Case in point: Richard Senior, who is a senior police constable in the York Regional Police in Canada has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges of corruption and criminal behavior, including breach of trust, trafficking cocaine and steroids, and planning to rob a drug warehouse.

His defense? He didn't intend to act dishonestly, he just lacked the training and experience on specific police procedures.

In other words, I can't not sell cocaine until you train me on how to not sell cocaine.

His lawyers argued in court that Senior, a 14-year veteran, would not have committed his crimes without the "instigation" of the police.

A recent story on the CityNews.ca website said that the police had been secretly investigating Senior. Senior's attorney said that their investigation, combined with Senior's lack of training and experience, were the reasons he made some of his poor decisions.

Decisions like planning to rob a drug warehouse, carrying a gun to rob a drug warehouse, and then offering to sell cocaine he stole from the drug warehouse?

"See, when you say it that way, of course it sounds dumb," said Senior's attorneys.

They didn't really say that. What his attorney did say was that Senior was placed into certain situations that he had neither the training nor experience to handle.

Situations like filing an intelligence report about a woman he was having an extramarital affair with and who allegedly sold hash, heroin, and cocaine. Senior supposedly filed the intelligence report using his own knowledge about her, but had a friend pretend to be the secret informant and sign the report.

Given everything I've read, the last thing I would expect Richard Senior to file is an intelligence report.

Prosecutors also say that Senior planned to rob a fictitious drug warehouse after he heard about it from another undercover officer posing as a drug dealer. They say Senior also offered to sell the drugs from that warehouse to two other men he knew.

I suppose these are honest mistakes anyone can make without the proper training. I don't know how many time I've accidentally almost robbed a drug warehouse before someone with more experience told me, "That's probably not a good idea."

Except isn't "don't rob drug warehouses" rather obvious? I mean, don't they teach this to schoolchildren? This doesn't sound like something you need to be trained on at work. You don't receive annual training on sick leave policies, the new phone system, and not robbing drug warehouses.

Senior's attorney, John Struthers, clarified that it was only certain actions Senior took in regards to police informants that brought him under the investigators' scrutiny.

According to CityNews.ca, Struthers said Senior was sent into the field without training and tried to help someone he "he thought was a great informant and who had provided useful information on drugs and guns."

(Like, how guns can be used to steal drugs?)

According to his lawyer, Senior tried to offer $1,000 to an informant who was actually an undercover officer, but the informant refused. Prosecutors say Senior didn't document that properly, and the $1,000 went missing.

Struthers also said that Senior believed he could act as an informant on his mistress without revealing his identity because no one told him he wasn't allowed to fake an identity on an official police report.

But the prosecutor said in his closing statement that there was "overwhelming" evidence about Senior's intent to commit crimes, including an audio recording of him offering a friend half a kilo of cocaine to help with the robbery.

Bottom line: I don't think Senior can use the "no one trained me not to do it" defense in his trial, since it sounds like he knew what he was doing was wrong. And some of these sound like things you're supposed to know from Day One.

A verdict is expected to come by April 21, and Senior is on paid leave until then.

This is going to be a bumpy ride, so fasten your seat belt.

I'll teach you how.

Photo credit: Hillelfrei (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 4.0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.