A former Waterloo police officer who was suspended with pay for three years sent an email to police mocking them for paying him while he golfed, travelled and took a course that would allow him to pursue a career as a firefighter.
Craig Markham, 37, sent the email on March 27, 2015 and thanked the Waterloo Regional Police Service for a “nice gift.”
“I was able to sit home, take courses, travel, and play lots of golf and get paid a first class pay check, receive full benefits, and a full pension for the last three years,” Markham wrote in the email.
Waterloo Region Police Chief Bryan Larkin released the email at a police services board meeting last week and called Markham’s situation an abuse of the system.
Markham closes the email by saying he’s “down south until the end of April playing golf and hanging out on the beach using some of that WRPS sick bank payout.”
He also thanked Waterloo police for having “opened up other doors” and paying him to “sit back and watch.”
Markham, who worked for 11 years as an officer, pleaded guilty to breach of trust and was given a conditional discharge in October 2012.
I was able to sit home, take courses, travel, and play lots of golf and get paid a first class pay check, receive full benefits and a full pension for the past three years
While working at the front desk in 2011, an acquaintance texted him to say her boyfriend was in custody. Markham pulled up the man’s file and spoke to him in his holding cell. The man was suspected to have ties with the Hells Angels, though they were never proven.
Markham then copied confidential information into an email and sent it to another acquaintance.
Police suspended Markham with pay in February 2012 and he amassed nearly $350,000 in salary. Markham, a former constable, was forced to resign after a formal hearing in 2014. He appealed the process and continued to receive his salary until the case was dismissed by a civilian commission. Markham quit on Feb. 18 of this year.
I am down south until the end of April playing golf and hanging out on the beach using some of that WRPS sick bank payout until I start my new career May 1st
Ontario is the only province where officers who are facing charges still receive their pay.
Larkin said the email will be sent to politicians in an effort to gain traction to have the policy changed.
Pam Machado, a counsel for the York Regional Police Association, represented Markham through 2014. Machado wrote in an emailed statement that suspension with pay exists to ensure the presumption of innocence. She said 97 per cent of complaints against officers in Ontario are later dismissed as unsubstantiated.
Suspending officers without pay, Machado said, “will only lead to an increase in the already grim reality that first responders are faced with.”
“At the end of the day, this debate should not center around one email that was clearly sent in a moment of frustration,” Machado said. “The debate is about how best to support our officers who have been “damaged” by their experiences on the job.”