ALBERTA

Firing Upheld For Rob Furlong, Edmonton Officer Who Urinated On Co-Worker

08/20/2013 08:32 EDT | Updated 10/20/2013 05:12 EDT
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EDMONTON - A review board has upheld the firing of a former army sniper from the Edmonton Police Service for urinating on another officer and other misconduct, but the case may not be over yet.

Const. Rob Furlong, a decorated veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was fired in March 2012 by a senior officer after pleading guilty to two of four charges at a disciplinary hearing.

A few months later the Law Enforcement Review Board ruled the punishment was too harsh.

It ordered Furlong reinstated with a temporary demotion, noting that he had entered an alcohol treatment program.

Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht filed an appeal that argued the decision to dismiss Furlong was reasonable.

The Alberta Court of Appeal then sent the case back to the board for reconsideration.

In its ruling made public Tuesday, the Law Enforcement Review Board said the decision by the senior officer to fire Furlong for his misconduct during a night of heavy drinking at a police training event in Sept. 2011 was acceptable.

"The presiding officers' decision that the appellant be dismissed immediately from the Edmonton Police Service is affirmed and the appeal is dismissed," a three-member panel wrote.

"We conclude, after very careful deliberation, that the presiding officers' decision on penalty was reasonable — it was a decision that was available to him in light of the facts as he found them and in light of the law."

Furlong, who served with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was lauded in 2002 for shooting a Taliban fighter at a range of 2.43 kilometres — the longest sniper kill recorded at the time.

Furlong, who has been suspended from the police service without pay, was not immediately available for comment.

Sgt. Tony Simioni, president of the Edmonton Police Association, which represents officers, said Furlong is very disappointed with the latest ruling and is seeking leave to challenge it at the Alberta Court of Appeal.

"He is obviously concerned about the overturning of the decision and we are going to support him through this process to the very end," Simioni said.

Knecht was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Last April Knecht issued a written statement about the Furlong case.

In it he said the citizens of Edmonton have high standards and expectations of police, and that it is essential for the police to maintain the public trust.

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