A veteran Montreal police constable who wanted to perform a good deed has ended up getting suspended without pay.
Ghyslain Lavoie, who has 26 years of experience in law enforcement, was found to have violated two portions of the Quebec police ethics code while trying to return a lost wallet in 2017, the Montreal Gazette is reporting, citing a provincial investigation.
The newspaper says Lavoie was working the night shift in August that year when a citizen approached him and handed him a wallet belonging to the daughter of a local lawyer.
He then reportedly traced the wallet to a residence in the city and knocked on its door around 3:22 a.m. in hopes of returning it to its rightful owner.
Yet when nobody answered the door or a phone number linked to the home, Lavoie decided to head home for the evening.
The next night, he returned once again in hopes of handing back the wallet – this time around 1:45 a.m. and with a partner, according to the Montreal Gazette.
While his partner rang the home’s doorbell, Lavoie retrieved another wallet left on the seat of a car parked at the property out of concern it was at risk of being stolen, the investigation found. That wallet, the newspaper says, belonged to the lawyer.
After failing to get a response at the front door, Lavoie and his partner then entered the home through a back door, the Montreal Gazette reports.
“According to [Lavoie’s] version of facts, he mentioned that he entered to verify if a theft had been carried out or to see if someone inside needed help,” the Police Ethics Committee wrote in its investigation. “While he was inside the home, Constable Lavoie shouted ‘Police, allô’ each time he took three steps.”
Lavoie eventually made his way upstairs, encountered the lawyer and his wife, handed over both wallets and then recommended that the homeowners always lock their doors, according to the Montreal Gazette.
The lawyer later called 911 to complain about the constable’s actions and filed a police ethics complaint.
During the investigation, Lavoie admitted to searching the lawyer’s car and then entering his home without cause – both violations of police code, the Montreal Gazette reports.
He was slapped with a three-day suspension.