Officer retires before facing inquir y
Allegedly abused system to find information
An Edmonton police officer with more than 25 years under his belt walked away from numerous allegations of professional misconduct earlier this month when he retired, taking his intact pension with him.
Staff Sgt. Allan Pitts, 50, faced 23 charges of insubordination and a single charge of deceit, all of which he pleaded not guilty to in June.
An internal disciplinary hearing expected to last at least 13 days and see 33 witnesses was scheduled to begin Monday morning. However, the hearing was cancelled because Pitts retired Nov. 17.
He had been on medical leave until Sept. 13, and before that suspended with pay during a nearly year-long investigation.
The bulk of the insubordination charges against Pitts were related to allegations he made nearly 250 queries using a national database, the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), between July 2004 and June 2005.
According to the list of charges made public Monday, those searches were not done for police purposes, or Pitts could not explain why he searched particular names, licence plates or vehicle identification numbers.
It is alleged that in November 2004, Pitts shared the results of one CPIC query with an unauthorized third party.
None of the accusations have been proven.
Also in November 2004, internal affairs investigators allege Pitts went to an Eastwood home on “standby” at the request of Gohar Ahmed Pervez.
The charge sheet calls this a conflict of interest and breach of police service policy.
Pitts’s single deceit charge stems from the same incident, when he allegedly told downtown police officers he was on-scene at the request of Staff Sgt. Al Sauve or the provincial police team tasked with investigating organized crime.
Pervez is currently in the middle of a seven-month preliminary hearing on 107 counts of fraud over $5,000, none of which have been proven in court. The 41-year-old was one of six people arrested last Christmas in connection to a $30-million mortgage fraud scheme called the biggest in Alberta history by the provincial organized crime police team.
Later in November 2004, Pitts was served a written order by then-acting deputy Chief David Korol, stating he was to have no further contact with Pervez and he was not to discuss investigations of Pervez with other police officers.
It is alleged Pitts nonetheless main- tained contact with Pervez. It is also alleged that in the spring of 2005, he discussed the ongoing Pervez investigation with a constable and with a detective.
No criminal proceedings were ever launched against Pitts.
“To conduct a criminal investigation, you have to have enough evidence,” said Edmonton police spokesman Dean Parthenis, adding it appears there was not enough evidence in this case.
Because he retired, the police service has no further jurisdiction over the staff sergeant. All allegations were dropped Monday.
Pitts’s long history with the Edmonton police ser vice dates back to the late 1970s.
In 2000, he became the first Edmonton police officer to receive a Canadian Peacekeeping Award.
At 18, before joining the police service, he did an eight-month peacekeeping tour with the Royal Canadian Regiment’s air support unit in Ismailia, Egypt.
Supt. Mark Logar, who would have presided over the internal disciplinary hearing, said police have reviewed their own policies and practices in light of the allegations lodged against Pitts.
In February 2006, incoming Edmonton police Chief Mike Boyd unveiled new rules governing when police officers can use CPIC.
The new policies emphasize officers can only use the database for “law enforcement purposes,” and a list of examples of inappropriate searches is provided.
Edmonton officers’ use of the database has come under scrutiny in the past. In 2005, an internal police investigation found five officers used CPIC to get information about a police commissioner and an Edmonton journalist, both of whom were seen to be critical of police.