A third off-duty officer with the Winnipeg Police Service has been arrested for drinking and driving.
On Wednesday, Winnipeg’s police chief called a news conference to share information on the latest arrest in just a matter of weeks.
The third case made public involves an off-duty officer who was arrested by the RCMP in Headingley on November 20.
“There has been a suggestion that we are not being transparent about these incidents… that’s not the case,” Chief Danny Smyth said. “These officers will be held accountable.”
Earlier this week police confirmed an off-duty officer had been arrested on November 26 for refusing to take a breathalyzer.
“Oh I feel terrible about it. I expect better conduct from our officers about their decisions when they’re out socializing,” Chief Smyth said.
Chief Smyth said the names of the officers were not being released as charges had not been formally laid.
“That is our normal practice. Until charges are laid we don’t release the names of people,” Chief Smyth said. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave.
The city’s top cop said he called the news conference in part to speak out about the perception there was a culture of binge drinking within the service.
“I’m going to push back a little on that idea,” Chief Smyth said. “There are some who may be engaging in this kind of behaviour. There are about 1,400 cops in Winnipeg and the vast majority do not engage in this behaviour.”
He said of that 1,400, only one per cent of those officers are drinking and driving while off-duty.
In October another off-duty officer was arrested and charged with impaired driving causing death and failure to stop and remain at the scene of a crash that killed Cody Severight.
On Tuesday additional charges were laid against Const. Justin Holz, including dangerous driving , dangerous driving causing death and driving over the legal limit causing death.
Chief Smyth said he’s working on new programs to address the concerns that officers may have too much stress on them and need new ways to deal with them.
“For some it may be stress related and they choose drinking as the outlet for a stress related problem,” Chief Smyth said.