Calgary police have charged one of their own officers under Alberta’s privacy laws, alleging he conducted dozens of unauthorized searches of police databases and accessed a person’s private information for non-work-related reasons.
The victim whose information was accessed learned of the breaches last summer and notified the Calgary Police Service.
Police say they then launched an internal investigation and suspended the officer’s access to police databases.
On Thursday, police announced that Sgt. Kevin Knight has been charged with one count of accessing information in contravention of Alberta’s privacy laws and one count of using or disclosing information in contravention of those laws.
Police allege Knight conducted 96 searches of two separate databases between June 1, 2019, and July 9, 2020, looking for information that he did not need for a valid reason related to law enforcement.
Knight has been a member of the Calgary police for 31 years and remains on duty in a role where access to police databases is not required.
Officer also faces internal disciplinary process
Under Albera’s privacy laws, a public employee who accesses or uses information without a valid, professional reason can face fines of up to $10,000.
Police say Sgt. Knight will also face an internal disciplinary process and, if he is found guilty of misconduct, the consequences could include a reprimand, demotion, pay deductions, a suspension or a dismissal.
“These allegations are deeply concerning and we know cases like this undermine the public’s trust in us,” police Chief Mark Neufeld said in a release.
“Our service does not take it for granted that we are entrusted with private and often very sensitive information about the people we serve. This is a responsibility we take very seriously, and it is completely unacceptable if any officer or civilian employee accesses private information without a valid reason.”