RCMP tightens controls after evidence theft

Ryan Ross
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Force immediately did a review after discovering problem with evidence

RCMP

An RCMP spokesman says the force has tightened its protocols when dealing with evidence after one of its former members stole prescription pills that were part of several investigations.

Blair Ross was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to several charges that included breach of trust after he stole more than 300 pills from the Montague detachment’s evidence locker.

Sgt. Andrew Blackadar said the RCMP immediately did a review after discovering there was a problem with the evidence.

“As a result of that review we have tightened up probably an already tight process,” he said.

Although some of the pills Ross took were from investigations that were completed, some of them were from active investigations and 11 charges were withdrawn because the evidence was tampered with.

Ross was one of only a few people who had access to the evidence room at the Montague detachment.

Blackadar said the force has made some minor changes to how the evidence is handled, such as photographing prescription pills before they are entered into the locker. That’s because some things can’t be altered, such as items with barcodes, but other generic items, like pills, can be.

That’s what happened in at least one case when Ross replaced pills in evidence with generic Aspirin.

“We’re describing them through photographs, as well as describing them through written reports,” Blackadar said.

But Blackadar said the rules were already strict when it came to handling evidence.

“Because of the strict rules that we had in place that’s why we were able to conduct this investigation so quickly and determine exactly what transpired.”

As for Ross’s future with the RCMP, Blackadar said he is no longer with the force after retiring last month, which ended a code of conduct investigation that was underway.

Ross served with the RCMP for about 25 years and Blackadar said he will still collect a pension because it was something he paid into.

“He gets whatever his entitlement was.”

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: RCMP

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Recent comments

  • Ross a great guy
    February 07, 2014 - 19:51

    To all the people who are having a beef about Mr Ross I have known Mr Ross through friends he is human as us all we all make mistakes and we are to learn from them,I hope he gets back on track and be the great citizen for which I have known for Mr Ross to be, as I said earlier we are not all angels we are all known for our mistakes.

  • Dig Deeper Please
    February 07, 2014 - 08:33

    In most work places if someone was coming to work stoned everyone would recognize it immediately. Funny how someone working with a bunch of people trained to recognize drug impairment could go unnoticed. I wish Sgt. Blackadar would comment on that.

    • blah
      February 07, 2014 - 09:37

      Here's the thing. Big bad opiates, the scourge of our society, are coursing through your body right now. You have these things called ndorphins, dynorphins and enkephalins within your body, performing various tasks ranging from gastrointestinal functionality, pain management, immune system function reward management and GENERAL DAY TO DAY EMOTIONAL WELL BEING. Turns out, there's over 120 different kinds of them in our bodies, and some are fifty times more potent than morphine. What society at large does not understand is that opiates are part of our bodies. That is why we respond well to them, they are something with which we co-evolved. That fact that they are illegal, which by the way was first done as a way to make it illegal to be chinese without actually coming right out and saying it, is warring against ourselves. If you really research it, the majority of opiatres only have one side effect that is undesirable, that being tolerance. Most of the ills associated with "prescription pill abuse" can be attributed to their prohibition, as the fact is that these things really are not very expensive, and numerous studies and various trials done around the world have consistently shown that when provided with an adequate means with which to obtain their drugs, making their drugs legal or simply providing them methadone makes crime drop significantly, in the case of legalizing causes drug use in general to go down and etc. But, unfortunately, the propaganda concerning opiates and drugs in general has been prolific and effective. The general population is vehemently ignorant and will continue to remain so. Their justifiable anger is being directed the wrong way. Back to your question, sure some people use these to get high or what have you. Some people need them for pain or mental issues. Your best friend could be on them and you wouldn't know, because for a lot of people, rather than making them get "high", they simply allow them to function. Whether that be through the alleviation of pain, or through replacing a deficiency of endorphins which could result in treatment resistant, long term refractory depression, given as no current gen antidepressants except for a version of buprenorphine in clinical trials addresses low endorphins. Have a great day,

    • Dig Deeprer
      February 07, 2014 - 13:34

      So blah, let me see if I've got this straight. 1. Police officers trained to recognize drug impairment can't actually tell if people are on drugs because anyone could be using drugs with no effects (other than tolerance) and (2) drugs are actually pretty good for us and shouldn't be illegal anyway. Okay RCMP stop wasting money training officers to detect drug impairment and stop putting people in jail for using drugs. Got it. Call me old fashion but when my friends or family are driving home tonight I would just as soon they didn't meet any cops driving with a snoot full of drugs whether their fellow officers can detect it or not.

    • skeptic
      February 07, 2014 - 15:02

      Where did it ever say he went to work stoned??? It's obvious you hate police and that's your right, but now you're making stuff up. Get a grip on yourself!

    • Dig Deeper Please
      February 07, 2014 - 16:03

      To skeptic. I didn't make anything up. "Ross was arrested on May 31, 2013 and gave a statement a few days later, at which time he said he had severe back pain, but the prescription painkillers he was taking weren't sufficient while he was at work wearing his gun belt." So, he was either under the influence of the drugs he stole while he was at work OR he was wearing his gun belt when he was taking the drugs at home. Seems obvious to me this was happening at work. For the record i have a great deal of respect for the police. When the police break the law however, they are not simply people who made a bad decision. They are criminals and deserve no more respect than any other criminal. There. Get a grip on YOURSELF.