Cop ‘used own dog’ in hunt for offender

 

AN OUTBACK copper is alleged to have used his own pet german shepherd on a manhunt for a teen offender in a remote Queensland community.

The accusation is one of many in an integrity scandal that has rocked a country town station in the Mt Isa Police District.

An explosive 18-page letter of complaint sent to the Mt Isa Superintendent and Ethical Standards Command outlines claims of public drunkenness, bullying, racial vilification, fraudulent drug testing and outrageous conduct.

The complaint, compiled by former police Sergeant-turned-workplace advocate with Justice4Workers Kate Rasmussen on behalf "of a number of current and former officers", reveals a senior officer already on "light duties" used his personal car and dog to search for an alleged offender.

The letter alleges that in April the officer left two juvenile prisoners unattended in the watch house, used his own vehicle to chase a wanted juvenile offender through the bush and tied his own pet dog, "known to be vicious", at the rear of the property "where the juvenile could possibly decamp".

The letter states that the dog should not be taken as a "use of force option", when the officer is not a trained dog handler and the dog is not a police dog.

It goes on to allege that the same dog bit an on-duty police officer on May 4.

It is further alleged the same senior officer told some locals their random breath tests (RBT) had returned a positive result for drugs.

This claim was supported by a written complaint by a resident who claims the officer stopped him for an RBT then told him the breathalyser reading indicated there were drugs detected and that he was required to attend hospital for further blood tests.

Ms Rasmussen's letter also claims at least five police employees are on leave or have transferred, with one on the verge of self harm, as a result of alleged workplace bullying.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman said two community meetings were held in 2018 between the Mt Isa District Officer, residents, the mayor and councillors to address community concerns.

"There is ongoing commitment for support and dialogue between stakeholders," she said.

At least two locals have also previously lodged complaints with the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

One of the complaints claimed another officer racially abused and threatened to throw a family member of one his employees "over the bridge," while at a local pub in December, 2017.

A December 2018 letter, signed by Superintendent Glen E. Pointing, informed the complainant the CCC referred the complaint to the Ethical Standards Command, that in turn referred the matter to the QPS State Discipline Command.

The letter states "a disciplinary sanction suitable to address the seriousness of the conduct substantiated" was imposed, but it does not specify what type of disciplinary action was taken.

A number of local residents, who also asked to not be named, said they felt the police, in general, were "crossing so many boundaries."

One local said she understood the police had a job to do, but many community members felt the senior cop was using an "excessive use of power."

A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said she could not answer specific questions about the allegations, but confirmed there were several open complaints concerning the conduct of particular officers.

"These matters have been reported to the Ethical Standards Command (ESC)," she said.

"All complaints are taken seriously and the QPS is committed to conducting thorough investigations and finalising these as soon as possible.

She said several complaints received from members of the public had already been investigated and resolved via the QPS Complaints and Resolution Policy.


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