- 2002 SEP 02 -


            The period of leave finished on the 2nd of September 2002, exactly four years after the crash.  The first thing in the morning there was a meeting with Supt. MacLaughlan in his office on the top floor of the ‘H’ Division Headquarters building, up where the air was rare and sound decisions even more so.  After a very short chit-chat about the weather, he asked why I wanted to see him.  My immediate thought was that a person knows he is not important when his boss does not even realize it is his last day of work!  As he was being told, Neil Fraser walked in newly attired in his crisp white shirt with Inspector crowns and his neatly pressed blue trousers with yellow leg stripe and officer’s brown shoes.  I did not say anything except to offer my congratulations, but the thought ran through my mind to look at what the cat had dragged in!  I would not have to put up with him, and too bad for those who did.  The explanation continued about this being my last day until MacLaughlan blurted out, “No, it isn’t!  You’re not finished yet!  You have at least two months more annual leave to take!”  I told him he had signed off on the paperwork over a month previously, it had gone through channels, and everything was set.  He was visibly upset and did not know what else to say or do other than to insist I was staying and could not retire until my time off and leave were all used up. 

            I was not about to argue with MacLaughlan, so on his desk I placed my badge and ID card along with a locked box containing my gun and ammo clips.  He immediately pushed them back saying he would not take them, and I must keep them.  He was told it would be illegal for me to be in possession of this equipment by the next morning as I would be a civilian. 

            He looked at Neil, and it seemed a light came on as he said to Neil that he must dust off the plans to increase the Halifax Identification position to a Staff Sergeant.  Since the position was now vacant, the plan could go ahead.  I knew what they were talking about as I looked at the two of them in disgust, glad I was finished with them.  MacLaughlan still insisted that before I could retire, the leave must be used up.  As I left, he was told I was on my way to see the Division Rep for clarification of the matter.  Nothing more was said, not even by Neil.  On the way out of the building, the thought came to mind that the air on the top floor was exceptionally rare this day.

            The plan he had mentioned was quite simple.  Back in October of 1998 when I had met with Inspector Robinson for an interview about my future posting, the plan had just been developed to increase the rank of the member in charge of the Halifax Ident Section to the level of Staff Sergeant.  He wanted me to remain in Halifax as I was in line for that promotion even though I had just been promoted to Sergeant.  The new promotion would be based on my work in the Swissair morgue.  Someone might now suggest this Staffing Officer did not know what he was talking about, but he went on to become the Commanding Officer of Prince Edward Island’s ‘L’ Division.  Lee Fraser confirmed all of this and gave an explanation as to why.  Halifax Regional Municipality covered all of Halifax County.  The old Halifax City, Dartmouth City, and Bedford, as well as other connecting areas, were policed by the Halifax Regional Police.  The rest of Halifax County was policed by four RCMP sub-detachments.  Over the years, various units had been amalgamated and, in so doing, one or the other police agency had taken charge of that unit.  However, it had been decided by the RCMP’s senior management that Forensic Identification Services would never come under the Regional Police.  To ensure this, a plan was created to reclassify the RCMP’s Halifax Identification Section position to a Staff Sergeant so the Sergeant in Charge of the Regional Police Ident Section would be outranked.  That was the power politics of one police force against another.  After I left, my replacement was promoted into a newly created Staff Sergeant’s position.  There would be no increase in the number of members of the Ident Section to justify his existence.  Instead, it was claimed he supervised other Identification Sections in the RCMP’s area of the Province. 



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