Waterloo, ON — Waterloo Regional Police officer, Craig Markham was criminally charged and convicted of breach of trust in October of 2012. However, he was not fired because he appealed the ruling and, instead, was placed on paid administrative leave. For the next three years, Markham continued to draw his $90,348 annual salary — he would never work another day.
Markham was so grateful to his former employers that he wrote a letter enthusiastically thanking them for his years-long paid vacation.
“I am very thankful and fortunate to have received such a nice gift from WRPS over the last three years. You have opened up other doors for me and have paid me to sit back and watch. What a dream come true,” Craig Markham wrote in an email on March 27 addressed to the police service’s solicitor.
His letter apparently agitated Police Chief Bryan Larkin, who called Markham’s letter a mockery of the judicial system.
“He (Markham) mocks what is supposed to be a fair and judicial system,” Larkin said in an interview.
However, the real mockery of the judicial system is a cop who can be convicted of a crime, only to be given a paid three-year vacation.
“It sends a bad message to the community,” Larkin said.
“More importantly, it harms and takes away from the incredible work of the 760 officers who are out there every day putting their lives at risk.”
“It’s an abuse of system and I believe the system needs to be changed,” Larkin said.
Oddly enough, Markham was serious when he wrote the letter, and is upset that Larkin made it public.
“I think it’s disgusting that Bryan Larkin released my email,” Markham told the Police Services Board meeting on Wednesday. “He is using me as a scapegoat.”
In the email, Markham explained how nice it was to receive his full pay and benefits without having to work.
“So really I was in no rush. Timing couldn’t have been better,” said Markham, who then said he had been “down south” playing golf and “hanging out on the beach using some of that WRPS sick bank payout.”
Markham’s words, while claimed as offensive by his superiors in public, likely resonate with cops across the country who enjoy the luxury of paid vacations while being investigated for their criminal behavior.
Standard procedure, even for cops who kill unarmed people on video, is suspension which is often paid. No other profession in the world offers the option of drawing a paycheck after your employers catch you committing a crime, outside of the state.
Markham’s letter should serve as a wake-up call to those who think that all cops get into the profession to serve and protect. This is incorrect, as we have proven time and again. Many of these cops get in the profession because it grants them a license to break the law with impunity, all the while collecting a taxpayer-funded pension.