RCMP on scene of incident in Chilliwack (Black Press Media files)

Police will ‘thoroughly review’ recommendations in murder inquest: RCMP

Inquest jury recommended policies for ‘potential grievous bodily harm’ calls, and increased training

The B.C. RCMP says it will review recommendations from jurors who called for police to look at how they handle serious calls.

Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau says the RCMP takes very seriously recommendations issued by a coroner’s inquest into the death of a woman who spent four days paralyzed and dying inside her home in Mission, B.C., in 2008.

The inquest heard this week that two RCMP officers responded to a call about shots fired in the rural neighbourhood, but they did not get out of their vehicles to investigate or contact the neighbour who called 911.

Inside the home, 37-year-old Lisa Dudley and her boyfriend had been shot, and the woman lay in the home for four days until a neighbour checked in and called for help. Dudley died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

The inquest issued its written verdict Thursday night and made nine recommendations, including that RCMP explore policies around following up on calls about “potential grievous bodily harm” like shootings and stabbings, and look at increased training if such policies are already in place.

Linteau says each of the recommendations will be “thoroughly reviewed” and the force will provide a full written response to the BC Coroners Service.

“We welcome any opportunity to examine existing procedures and policies as they apply to front-line policing and police operations in order to ensure that we are providing the best policing services to the public,” Linteau said in an email.

READ MORE: Police need policy on ‘grievous bodily harm’ calls: Lisa Dudley murder inquest

READ MORE: RCMP officer says he was skeptical about shots fired call in Lisa Dudley case

READ MORE: Claim dismissed against RCMP over 2008 Mission woman’s murder

The jury also recommended the force implement a mandatory routine review and training on “First Response Investigations Policy” at all levels.

The jury called on the police dispatch service to review its procedures and training to make sure employees “properly and thoroughly document all details reported by a complainant,” and that all calls are recorded and can be made public under access to information laws.

A recording was played at the hearing where Cpl. Michael White, then a constable with seven years of experience, laughed with a police dispatcher about a 911 call made by Dudley’s neighbour.

“Six gunshots in a row and a crash,” the officer said before laughing.

“Yeah, exactly. Don’t you love this?” the dispatcher replied.

A lawyer for Dudley’s family asked White during his testimony to the jury if he thought a shots-fired call was funny.

“No, it’s not funny,” he told the inquest. “I was skeptical.”

White told the five-member jury he had reservations about the call because it was an unusually high number of gunshots and it had only been reported by one neighbour.

The RCMP later gave the officer a written reprimand and docked him a day’s pay as punishment.

The jury also made recommendations for B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety, saying it should review how complaints of potential grievous bodily harm are investigated by all police agencies across the province, and explore implementing mandatory training for responding to those complaints.

A statement from the ministry thanked the jurors for their recommendations and said they would be considered carefully.

Jurors also wanted to see BC Emergency Health Services explore options for “a designated air ambulance that is better equipped to allow patient care during transport,” the inquest’s verdict said.

The service said it had not yet received the recommendations formally and would provided comment once they had been received and considered in full.

The goal of an inquest is not to lay blame, but to determine the events that led to a person’s death and make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heartfelt memories of Derek Descoteau four years later

Victim of Chemainus murder and his brother leave a huge impact on a large group of friends

Ladysmith PRC restarts registered programming June 1

The programming will feature a mix of live Zoom classes, and outdoor in-person classes

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Chemainus family pledges $50,000 to Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund

The Hilton family pledged $50,000 toward a matched fund. If fully matched, it will raise $100,000

Local woman makes face masks to raise funds for LRCA Food Bank

Cheryl Lowrence made 30 face masks and raised $326.25 for the food bank

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

28 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in ong-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Royal B.C. Museum reopens in phases, some galleries remain closed to start summer

Victoria museum and archives open first galleries June 19

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

Most Read