RCMP Const. Blaise Picketts was removed from the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Service and ordered to apologize to arresting officers after an incident in 2020 in which he drove drunk and was found asleep behind the wheel of his police-issued SUV in a Burger King drive-thru. (CBC)
A former member of the RCMP Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Service has been disciplined after a 2020 incident in Maple Ridge, B.C., in which he was found passed out in his police-issued SUV in a Burger King drive-thru at 2:30 a.m.
Const. Blaise Picketts, whose full name is Jonathan Warren Blaise Picketts, agreed to the facts in an RCMP Conduct Board decision, which was posted this week. He also entered a guilty plea for resisting arrest in the incident, in separate criminal proceedings last year.
The incident took place in April 2020. It began early in the afternoon, on a day Picketts was off duty. He and some other police dog handlers met in Surrey to train their dogs.
Afterwards, the group decided to go to the home of one of the officers in Langley to socialize. On the way, Picketts picked up alcohol at a liquor store, which he drank at the officer's house.
A couple of hours later he went to another officer's house in Surrey, and continued to drink, at one point leaving to drive to the liquor store again, before continuing to drink.
According to the Conduct Board decision, Picketts stayed at that officer's house until 2 a.m., when he left in his police-issued SUV, with his service dog, carbine, ammunition and mobile workstation.
Picketts admits to scraping the SUV along a concrete barrier on the Golden Ears Bridge while driving to Maple Ridge. The collision caused about $7,000 in damage, for which Picketts later reimbursed the RCMP.
At about 2:30 a.m., the officer fell asleep behind the wheel in a Burger King drive-thru, according to the conduct board decision. An employee tried to wake him up for 20 minutes, before getting scared and calling 911.
At about 3 a.m., an RCMP constable arrived, unsure if he was dealing with an armed police officer or someone who was driving a stolen police vehicle.
According to the disciplinary decision, the constable found Picketts sleeping with the engine running and a credit card in his right hand. It took several attempts to wake him up and an open can of alcohol was found on the floor.
After a second officer arrived at the Burger King, the two tried to administer a breathalyzer test, but Picketts bit the straw, turned away from the device and failed to blow hard enough.
He was placed under arrest, but refused to comply, became unco-operative and swore at the officers. According to the Conduct Board decision, Picketts became combative and physically resisted arrest, at one point lifting his knee quickly in the direction of the groin of one of the constables, and grabbing the handcuffs in a way that injured the other officer's thumb.
More officers were urgently called to the Burger King to help, and it took several officers to get him into the back of a police vehicle.
At the Maple Ridge police station, Picketts continued to be unco-operative.
"Booking video shows that when Constable Picketts was being photographed in cells, he put his head down and put up his middle finger to the camera," said the Conduct Board decision.
He was eventually released after sobering up.
Following his guilty plea for resisting arrest, Picketts was sentenced to three months of probation and issued a $1,000 fine.
"I find that his actions demonstrate a serious lack of judgment and are incompatible with the duties and responsibilities of a member of the RCMP," wrote Christine Sakiris to the Conduct Board in her decision. "Members cannot flout, in their private lives, the very laws they are called upon to enforce."
Picketts was allowed to remain a member of the RCMP, but he was docked 30 days pay and 15 days of vacation time for the incident. He was removed from the Integrated Police Dog Services and is ineligible for promotion for three years. He was also ordered to undergo medical treatment and apologize to the arresting officers.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Normally, Police are above the law and this case is a classic example.
Any non-police officer found drunk in a vehicle would be charged and convicted of DUI.
Note, Picketts was NOT charged with DUI, he also refused to provide a breath sample and was not charged with that.
Police do not need to have a breath sample in order to get a DUI conviction especially in the overwhelming evidence in this example.
The only criminal charge he was convicted on was that of "resisting arrest" which is a doozy of plea bargain.
This is also a classic example of "minimization" and protection of police by police for police. Just imagine a bus driver or an airline pilot being able to keep their job after being convicted of all the offenses Picketts should have been charged and convicted of.
Meanwhile in BC, between 2010 and 2019 an average of 24 people died every month on BC roads due to drink drink driving.
It begs the questions, who was responsible for deciding what charges were to be laid and what were their reasons for not laying the DUI, dangerous driving and refusing a breath sample charges?
Unfortunately in Canada, the Crown attorneys have absolute discretion in the laying of prosecutions and are accountable to no one.