12/11/2007Canada: Bribe Taking Photo Cop Gets Award
A police officer who had been charged with taking bribes to help ACS land a $90 million no-bid photo ticketing contract wins an award.
An Edmonton, Canada police officer who until last month faced criminal charges for taking illegal gifts from a company seeking to land a lucrative photo enforcement contract today received a "top cop" award from the Kiwanis Club of Edmonton. Staff Sergeant Kerry Nisbet, 51, accepted the honor at a ceremony this morning at Edmonton Police Service headquarters, according to the Edmonton Sun.
Nisbet has faced intense scrutiny over the past two years. An ongoing bribery trial now focuses on whether Sergeant Tom Bell, 49, offered a "deceptive" memorandum in support of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) in return for offers a comfortable job after leaving the force in addition to tickets to sporting events. Nisbet was Bell's direct supervisor and both were on a committee charged with studying photo radar proposals. Thanks to ACS, Nisbet and Bell were regulars at Edmonton hockey games and sat in prime seats just behind the Oilers' bench. In particular, Nisbet was given tickets worth $147.50 each to the Heritage Classic hockey game on November 22, 2003 and another game on March 14, 2004. Between 2003 and 2005, Bell also took a total of $3090 in cash from ACS for "training" services.
In return, Nisbet and Bell recommended ACS for a $90 million no-bid contract to run the city's red light camera and speed camera program, even though several other companies offered the same services. Charges were dropped against ACS and Nisbet last month as the prosecution could not establish the quid pro quo. Nonetheless, the Alberta, Canada provincial court judge in the bribery case did not exonerate Nisbet.
"Certainly, the evidence revealed a certain lack of concern for the police members involved for the appearance of propriety in dealing with ACS," Judge Michael G. Allen wrote.
The judge noted there was a higher standard to find someone guilty of a criminal offense than simply violating Edmonton Police Service regulations that state: "No employee shall solicit or accept a gift, favor, or service from any individual, organization, or company in the course of the performance of duties without the written consent of the Chief of Police." Bell still faces trial in relation to the "deliberately deceptive" memorandum he wrote to city officials recommending ACS for the ticketing contract.