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Kelowna RCMP officer ‘likely crossed criminal negligence threshold’: IIO

Independent Investigations Office investigated the officer’s handling of a wellness check on Jan. 10
An Independent Investigation Office of BC report concludes that a Kelowna RCMP officer’s inaction regarding a wellness check “may well constitute a breach of RCMP policy and practice.” (File Photo)

The head of B.C.’s police watchdog office says a Kelowna RCMP officer “likely crossed the criminal negligence threshold” in not properly conducting a wellness check in January 2024.

A report by Independent Investigations Office (IIO) Director Ron MacDonald states the officer failed to “properly comply with his sworn duty to protect life” regarding a wellness check on Jan. 10.

The officer was sent to an apartment building after an out-of-province call asking to check on an individual who was extremely sick.

Unable to find the person’s buzzer number in the building directory, the officer left less than two and a half minutes later and told the caller to find someone else to check on their friend.

The report states the individual had no family or contacts in Kelowna. The building manager found a man dead in his apartment later that morning.

The same officer was sent back to the apartment to assist paramedics with a sudden death. A BC Coroners report states the death was from natural causes and occurred sometime on Jan. 9.

MacDonald’s report states the officer almost immediately abandoned his investigation after being stopped by the building’s front door.

“There were other options he could have pursued but failed to take any, other than to call the complainant back to tell her to get someone else to the job he had been tasked to do,” the report reads.

MacDonald also writes that the officer could have tried to contact other residents, the manager, or the property owner.

“Indeed a forced entry in these circumstances would quite likely have been appropriate.”

MacDonald notes the evidence indicates that the officer’s to gain entry to the building “did not make any difference to the unfortunate outcome.”

He concludes that the officer’s inactions “may well constitute a breach of RCMP policy and practice, a matter for their professional standards branch to address.”

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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