Force immediately did a review after discovering problem with evidence
An RCMP spokesman says the force has tightened its protocols when dealing with evidence after one of its former members stole prescription pills that were part of several investigations.
Blair Ross was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to several charges that included breach of trust after he stole more than 300 pills from the Montague detachment’s evidence locker.
Sgt. Andrew Blackadar said the RCMP immediately did a review after discovering there was a problem with the evidence.
“As a result of that review we have tightened up probably an already tight process,” he said.
Although some of the pills Ross took were from investigations that were completed, some of them were from active investigations and 11 charges were withdrawn because the evidence was tampered with.
Ross was one of only a few people who had access to the evidence room at the Montague detachment.
Blackadar said the force has made some minor changes to how the evidence is handled, such as photographing prescription pills before they are entered into the locker. That’s because some things can’t be altered, such as items with barcodes, but other generic items, like pills, can be.
“I would encourage people to read the guide – as it clearly states that parents should not encourage these behaviours.”
That’s what happened in at least one case when Ross replaced pills in evidence with generic Aspirin.
“We’re describing them through photographs, as well as describing them through written reports,” Blackadar said.
But Blackadar said the rules were already strict when it came to handling evidence.
“Because of the strict rules that we had in place that’s why we were able to conduct this investigation so quickly and determine exactly what transpired.”
As for Ross’s future with the RCMP, Blackadar said he is no longer with the force after retiring last month, which ended a code of conduct investigation that was underway.
Ross served with the RCMP for about 25 years and Blackadar said he will still collect a pension because it was something he paid into.
“He gets whatever his entitlement was.”