Pubdate: Sat, 30 May 2009
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Elise Stolte


12-Year Veteran Had Otherwise Exemplary Record

A veteran Edmonton constable was handed a 20-hour suspension on 
Friday after neglecting to turn in nine grams of crack cocaine and 
$155 in cash seized from a drug dealer.

Const. Cory Huculak led a team of eight officers in May 2006, when 
they stopped a vehicle, arrested two people and made the seizures.

It wasn't until September that the police drug custodian noticed 
something was wrong. He got notice that one of the two drug charges 
was being withdrawn and wondered why he had no drugs to match the charge.

For the next six months, he repeatedly sent e-mails and stopped 
Huculak in the hall to ask him for the drugs, but to no avail.

The exhibits weren't submitted until after a professional standards 
division started investigating.

"A case like this can do nothing but negatively affect the public 
trust," said Supt. Mark Logar, delivering his decision at an internal 
police disciplinary hearing on Friday.

"The potential effect on the trial -- had the case gone to trial -- 
could have been very significant, indeed."

As it was, the second person pleaded guilty to the drug charge rather 
than fight it.

When sentencing Huculak, a 12-year-veteran, Logar said he looked at 
his otherwise clean disciplinary record and long list of 
accomplishments and professional commendations. Those came from 
supervisors, homicide detectives, a judge and even a citizen who 
wrote the police department to suggest Huculak be recognized for his 
compassion and professionalism.

But Logar said the sentence also should serve as a warning to other 
officers, noting that several recent disciplinary hearings have dealt 
with poor record-keeping.

"Arresting criminals is the first half of police work," he said.

"Competently preparing and presenting cases in court is the other."

The penalty will remain on the constable's record for five years and 
is equivalent to a $760 fine.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom