A recently posted photo of a Niagara Regional Police officer sleeping in her cruiser is causing quite the stir on social media sites.
The unidentified police officer is seen passed out in her cruiser, hands folded in her lap and her mouth hanging open as her laptop sits off to the side. The photo appears to have been taken by a person in a grey sweater, although their face isn't visible in the reflection of the cruiser window.
Local newspapers, including the St. Catharines Standard, got hold of the photo this past weekend, when a Facebook user named Pat Hudak (who also calls himself "Pat Niagara") circulated it to the media. Hudak identifies as a member of a protest group called Canada Court Watch. The photo originally appeared on the Facebook page "People Unite Against Police Brutality" on June 12, posted by Facebook user Stephanie Gogo.
While the police officer in the photo is yet to be identified publicly, the Niagara Regional Police say they know who she is and are investigating further.
"From a performance, and officer safety perspective, NRP will be looking into the circumstances in which the photo was taken," said spokesperson Derek Watson to the St. Catharines Standard.
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New Chief of Niagara Regional Police, Jeff McGuire, discussed the controversy briefly with local radio station 610 CKTB News. McGuire echoed the sentiment of the police spokesperson, saying he needs to understand more of the circumstances around the photo and that the safety of the public and officers are his top concern.
Hudak said he'd like to see the officer held accountable for her actions. He also shared the opinion that this is a public safety issue:
"Being asleep with her door unlocked is dangerous to her and the public," Hudak said in a Toronto Sun story. "But she shouldn't be fired."
(YouTube screen capture)