In the recent unreported decision of the New Brunswick
Police Commission and Constable Jeff Smiley, dated December 2,
2015, an arbitrator appointed under the New Brunswick Police
Act imposed the penalty of dismissal of a New Brunswick police
officer as a result of his misconduct. While police officers in New
Brunswick have been disciplined before for misconduct, this is the
first time an arbitrator under the Police Act has imposed
Constable Smiley was in a common law relationship. He moved into
his common law partner's home in 2012. However, by February
2014, the relationship had broken down. On February 26, 2014,
Constable Smiley's partner met with police and gave a detailed
statement revealing, amongst other things, that Constable Smiley
had assaulted her on multiple occasions over the course of their
relationship. Police arrested Constable Smiley for assault. He was
released on a number of conditions, one of which was an undertaking
to surrender all firearms in his possession.
Constable Smiley did not turn over any firearms; rather, he
explained to police that his firearms were in Nova Scotia and were
not in his possession. This was untrue. In the meantime, Constable
Smiley asked a close friend and fellow police officer to store his
firearms temporarily, explaining that he and his common law partner
had ended their relationship and he could no longer keep the
firearms in her home. Constable Smiley did not disclose to his
close friend and fellow police officer that he was subject to an
undertaking to surrender all firearms in his possession.
Furthermore, Constable Smiley asked his close friend and fellow
police officer that, if she was asked by anyone if she saw or had
any knowledge of him being in possession of firearms, to state she
never saw the firearms. Constable Smiley's close friend and
fellow police officer declined to do so.
Constable Smiley was re-arrested for breaking the undertaking
not to possess firearms. In and around this time, it was discovered
that his licence to possess firearms had expired approximately
three (3) months earlier.
Constable Smiley was charged with discreditable conduct under
the Code of Professional Conduct under the Police
The arbitrator found that Constable Smiley engaged in four
counts of discreditable conduct under the Police Act:
committing domestic violence against his common law
partner. This finding was made despite Constable Smiley's
common law partner's evidence at the hearing wherein she
recanted her complaint of domestic violence;
counselling a fellow police officer not to disclose that
Constable Smiley was in possession of firearms while bound by an
Undertaking to turn over any firearms in his
possession of a firearm during the time when his licence
to possess such firearms was expired; and
possession of a firearm in breach of the undertaking to
surrender all firearms in his possession.
The arbitrator noted that the Code of Professional
Conduct imposed a requirement that police officers not bring
discredit upon the police force. He also commented that previous
police disciplinary decisions emphasized that, given the level of
trust and authority enjoyed by police officers, which was essential
to the position they occupy in society, police officers must act
with integrity at all times. The arbitrator concluded that, in
light of Constable Smiley's misconduct, the appropriate penalty
was immediate dismissal.
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