THE professional standards unit has been busy this year.
This is the third investigation the Free Press has uncovered through police and justice sources. In two other cases, the WPS got in front of the story by being the first to announce details.
In October, the Free Press revealed a veteran police supervisor was being investigated for an alleged sexual relationship with a lower-ranked female officer, who is married to a police officer. She claims she was repeatedly pressured into having a relationship during a two-year period.
Investigators are probing whether the relationship occurred when the two were on duty or left work early without authorization. There are also claims the pair may have been allowed into the home of a high-profile local public figure -- through a mutual friend who works in real estate -- and that explicit photos of the woman were taken inside.
The supervisor has been warned he could face up to 39 internal charges. Another supervisor who oversaw time sheets is being investigated. That patrol sergeant -- who allegedly covered up the early leaves from work -- may face a single charge.
In September, Chief Devon Clunis announced he'd launched a formal investigation after discovering two officers -- a field trainer and a recruit -- had contact with Tina Fontaine in the early-morning hours of Aug. 8, hours before the Winnipeg teen was last seen alive. However, Fontaine was allowed to walk away despite being an at-risk missing person. Her body was found in the Red River more than a week later.
The driver of a vehicle in which Fontaine was found was only ticketed for suspended driving and detained in the drunk tank. He was not charged with impaired driving, which is viewed as another breach of procedure. Both officers were placed on administrative leave.
In May, the Free Press revealed a veteran officer was under a legal microscope for his involvement in a high-profile gang-and-drug operation.
The member of the organized-crime unit was placed on administrative leave with pay while the professional standards unit continued an internal investigation surrounding the two-year Project Sideshow case. Sources said the file was complex and being reviewed by senior justice officials. No timeline for a decision has been established.
Police refused official comment on the matter. They cited the fact Sideshow is "currently before the courts" -- even though none of the questions submitted by the Free Press surrounded the operation but were instead focused solely on the officer and his current status.
Sideshow is one of the most elaborate undercover organized-crime investigations undertaken by Winnipeg police. Police arrested 14 people earlier this year.
Investigators relied heavily on the use of judicially authorized warrants, which netted more than 300,000 intercepted communications and paved the way to breaking up alleged drug cells in Manitoba, Ontario and B.C.
In May, Chief Devon Clunis revealed officers failed to respond to a 911 call for help, which warned of trouble outside a crowded downtown nightclub 24 minutes before a man was gunned down.
Clunis said police were taking the matter seriously in the interest of accountability and transparency. Staff members from the police communications centre who were involved in the incident -- including the duty officer -- were placed on administrative leave pending the review.
However, seven months have passed without an update. The Free Press has repeatedly sent questions seeking an update, only to be told the matter is ongoing.
Family and friends of the 23-year-old victim, Rustom Vito Paclipan, have expressed concern. They are still waiting for answers. Marcus Richard, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, while a 16-year-old co-accused, who allegedly supplied the gun, is charged with manslaughter.