Fredericton police officer denies misconduct allegations

Fredericton constable admits lying about going to crime scenes

A Fredericton police officer accused of filing false or inaccurate reports over nine months last year denies he violated the police code of conduct.

Zach Coady, who has been suspended with pay since last September, appeared for an arbitration hearing Wednesday and denied three misconduct allegations against him.

The three allegations are discreditable conduct, neglect of duty and engaging in deceit. All are related to the alleged false reports.

We never take any pleasure whatsoever in pursuing charges under the Police Act. - Leanne Fitch, Fredericton police chief

Fredericton Chief Leanne Fitch said she could not say what precipitated the allegations because "the matter is before the arbitrator."

Coady is accused under the Police Act of making false or inaccurate statements about his duties between Jan. 7 and Sept. 14, 2017.

His arbitration hearing will continue in January. After leaving the hearing Wednesday, Coady and his lawyer both declined to comment.

'More than usual'

Since 2012, provincial police forces have requested 11 arbitrations with the New Brunswick Police Commission. An additional two, involving Darrell Brewer and Mike Cook, involved criminal charges against the officers and were dealt with in court.

Nearly half of these cases were resolved in 2015 and 2016.

"I just really want to emphasize that we never take any pleasure whatsoever in pursuing charges under the Police Act," Fitch said.

Suspended last year

Coady has been suspended from the force with pay since September of last year.

An arbitration occurs after the force and the accused aren't able to reach a resolution at a settlement conference.

"When there are violations it's incumbent upon me as the chief to bring these matters forward and attempt to resolve with the officer," Fitch said. "And when we're not able to reach a resolution then it goes to a neutral third party for arbitration to make the decision based on facts presented."

"There is a time delay between the settlement conference and trying to get an arbitrator, so we've been waiting for this day for some time."

The arbitration hearing is to resume Jan. 14, 15 and 16.

Fitch said the possible outcomes include clearing Coady, a verbal or written reprimand, or dismissal.