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News (Media Awareness Project) - Canada: RCMP Axes Training With Rogue U.S. Sheriff Office
Title:Canada: RCMP Axes Training With Rogue U.S. Sheriff Office
Published On:2012-01-31
Source:National Post (Canada)
Fetched On:2012-02-02 06:01:48
RCMP AXES TRAINING WITH ROGUE U.S. SHERIFF OFFICE

The RCMP has scrapped plans to send hundreds of officers to Arizona
for training in recognizing and testing drug-impaired drivers after
learning that the sheriff's office they had partnered with has been
accused of engaging in "unconstitutional policing."

A scathing U.S. Department of Justice report recently concluded that
the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Phoenix engages in racial
profiling of Latinos, unlawfully stops and arrests Latinos and
unlawfully retaliates against individuals who criticize the force.

An RCMP official stressed Monday that at no time were Maricopa County
sheriff's officers going to be involved in teaching the Canadians and
that the only role of the sheriff's office's was to provide access to
people in custody at a remand centre who could be evaluated for
drug-impairment.

Still, the seriousness of the allegations against the sheriff's
office prompted the RCMP to cancel its training sessions in Arizona,
said Inspector Allan Lucier.

"It was almost immediate after having read the report that this would
not be a facility that we would associate ourselves with," he said.
"That just didn't meet our test."

As Postmedia News reported in December, the Mounties had planned to
spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to run six workshops - each
three weeks long - in the Arizona city between April 2012 and March
2013 to train a few hundred RCMP, provincial and municipal police
officers to detect and test drug-impaired drivers.

Under a Canadian law, which came into effect in July 2008, an officer
who suspects a driver may be impaired by drugs can demand that that
driver perform a test of their co-ordination skills. If the driver
fails that test, the officer can compel the driver to go to the
police station for a lengthier evaluation by a drug-recognition expert.

Several hundred Canadian police officers have gone through the RCMP's
training workshops, which consist of two weeks of classroom
instruction followed by one week of field certification, which
requires officers to complete seven to 10 evaluations of
drug-impaired individuals.

The field-certification portion had been done in conjunction with the
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office since 2007.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office - whose commander, Joe Arpaio,
likes to call himself "America's toughest sheriff" and has received a
lot of attention for his tough approach to illegal immigration - did
not respond to repeated calls and emails Monday.
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