Kelowna cop transferred for pointing gun at officer who was teasing her

Cop pointed gun at officer

A former Kelowna RCMP officer was transferred and docked pay after pointing her gun at a fellow officer who was teasing her, while they were inside the Kelowna detachment.

The incident occurred in the early morning hours of March 6, 2019, when Const. Kristine Roesler was completing a report to counsel in her cubicle, according to an RCMP code of conduct decision from last year. Her supervisor had told the officer the report needed corrections, and at 3 a.m., Roesler was frustrated.

Const. Kevin Hess, Roesler's close friend, began teasing her about her work.

“It seems that the more he teased her, the more upset she became. The more upset she became, the more laughs he got, which reinforced his behaviour,” Insp. Colin Miller said in his written decision.

“It is reasonable to believe that upon her having enough of this teasing, Constable Roesler, in a moment of frustration and poor judgment, reacted by drawing her firearm.”

There was some disagreement about whether Roesler pointed the gun directly at Hess, but Hess said he remembers seeing the barrel of the gun.

“And it was like pointed at me. Like if it went off like I honestly can’t say like a hundred percent like if it would hit me or not. But I do remember seeing like the, the circle of the barrel,” Hess said. “Like, and then I remember like she pulled it out, and then I remember like it being kinda like that, and then like I remember seeing the barrel of the gun”.

Roesler said she took her gun out in the spirit of “dark humour.” She contends that she held the gun “in a safe manner,” without her finger on the trigger. In his decision, Insp. Miller said he's troubled by this characterization.

“A small error on her part could have resulted in serious injury to Constable Hess or any other member who may have been in the bullpen area,” he wrote.

While the RCMP E Division's Chief Superintendent Marlene Bzdel argued Roesler should be fired – which Miller agreed there was “a strong case for” – Miller ultimately decided that 15 days of docked pay and a transfer to another undisclosed detachment where she would work under close supervision for a year would be an appropriate punishment.

“As police officers, we are granted considerable power by the various levels of government here in Canada and, by extension, the Canadian citizens,” Insp. Miller wrote.

“This includes the ability to infringe on the rights of individuals, to deprive them of their liberty, and to use reasonable force, up to and including lethal force. To enforce the laws that we are sworn to uphold, we are authorized to openly carry firearms. With that ability comes a great responsibility to use them appropriately. The brandishing of one’s firearm due to being teased by a co-worker does not fit this description.”

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