12/13/2005Canada: Special Prosecutors Examine Edmonton Camera Scandal
Special prosecutors are investigating possible criminal charges in the Edmonton, Canada photo radar scandal.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigators turned over the results of a 19-month investigation into the Edmonton Police Service photo radar scandal to special prosecutors with Alberta Justice Criminal Special Prosecutions. Justice officials will consider whether criminal charges are warranted in a case involving a no-bid contract and a $400,000 police slush fund.
The RCMP found evidence that at least three police officers accepted perks from Affiliated Computer Systems, a company later recommended for a twenty year, no-bid photo ticket contract worth $90 million. The mounties judged it inappropriate to take the ordinary course of submitting their findings to Acting Chief Darryl da Costa, who is himself under fire for accepting free hockey tickets from ACS in 1999 and 2004, in violation of police ethics rules. Da Costa later supported the no-bid contract.
The Edmonton Journal reports that an anonymous email from an officer in April 2004 triggered the investigation. The 28-year veteran of the force said that three officers had accepted an all-expense-paid vacation to Las Vegas from ACS that included the free use of Harley Davidson motorcycles during their stay. In addition, one officer received a trip to Washington, DC and two others accepted free hockey tickets.
In return, the officers bypassed the police commission which was supposed to review the contract decision. Instead, the officers told the council committee directly that only ACS was capable of providing the ticketing service. The council assumed the police commission had signed off on the deal.
The contract included a provision requiring ACS to deposit 50 cents into an unreported slush fund for police. The secret account, labeled, "community awareness program," had generated over $400,000 since 1999.