Halifax police officer charged after substance disappears from exhibit locker
A Halifax Regional Police officer is facing charges after a substance disappeared from a police exhibit locker last year.
Halifax Regional Police says it referred the case to the Serious Incident Response Team in May 2015 after they realized the substance, known as “cut,” may have been stolen from the locker.
“This is not a good day,” said Supt. Jim Perrin of Halifax Regional Police. “Any day a police officer is charged is a bad day in any community.”
SIRT says "cut" is used in the illegal drug trade and is mixed with the actual drug to increase quantity and profitability.
The police department says SIRT agreed to investigate the incident and the officer in question was suspended with pay.
SIRT determined there was enough evidence to lay charges in the case. Const. Laurence Gary Basso is facing charges of theft, breach of trust and obstruction of justice in connection with the incident, following the investigation by SIRT.
SIRT says the obstruction of justice charge relates to alleged steps taken to help a third party avoid detection and arrest by other police officers.
The incidents are alleged to have taken place between Jan. 1 and March 14, 2015.
Police say 35-year-old Basso has been an officer with the Halifax Regional Police for 11-and-a-half years. He remains suspended with pay, pending the outcome of the matter.
“At the time of this incident, Const. Basso was working in the Special Enforcement Section doing drug investigations,” said Perrin.
Police issued a statement Wednesday, saying the allegations against Basso are serious and aren’t being taken lightly.
“We recognize that citizens expect police officers to be beyond reproach and that these charges will be as much a concern to you as they are to us,” said spokesperson Const. Dianne Woodworth.
“We assure the public that this is an isolated incident which doesn’t represent the hard work, dedication and professionalism our officers show day in and day out.”
Police say they have conducted an audit of their drug exhibits and are awaiting the results and recommendations to help prevent a similar incident from happening again in the future.
“You know the public has expectations of their officers, we know that, and any time it's alleged that one of our officers has committed a significant offence such as the one that was laid today, it's concerning,” said Perrin.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Caitlin Andrea.