Mountie had anger issues
FORT MACLEOD — A retired RCMP sergeant says he tried to prevent Mike Ferguson from transferring to his detachment after learning the constable had attacked another officer at a shooting range.
“The alarm bells started going off,” Gary Mills testified Tuesday at a fatality inquiry into the death of Darren Varley, a drunk man who was fatally shot by Ferguson in police cells in October 1999.
Mills said he learned the former constable had pushed or choked a shooting range officer in 1995, but despite his concerns, Ferguson was transferred to Pincher Creek anyway.
At first, he said his concerns appeared unfounded:
“He was a good policeman, a good investigator.”
However, Ferguson later became the focus of complaints by support staff, a female officer and civilians, including a youth Ferguson allegedly assaulted in a jail cell, and a basketball referee Ferguson chest-butted after a game.
Mills, who was commander of the detachment, testified he and other superiors ordered Ferguson to take anger management counselling.
During one outburst against support staff, Mills even sent Ferguson home.
Former RCMP officer Gordon Pitt, a friend of Ferguson’s, was also aware of his anger issues and suggested he get counselling.
He said although Ferguson never exhibited aggression in his presence, he was aware his friend had trouble controlling his temper.
“Absolutely yes,” Pitt said.
Bird sanctuary expanding
LAC LA BICHE — Alberta is expanding the size of a northern Alberta park that is recognized as a significant bird sanctuary.
Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park is being enlarged by about 423 hectares, to bring the total size of the park to 662 hectares.
The expanded park includes Currant, Birch, Red Fox and Pelican Islands, as well as two unnamed islands.
High Island and Black Fox Island Natural Areas have also been consolidated into the provincial park.
Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Cindy Ady says the expansion shows the government’s commitment to preserving the park.
The area is home to more than 200 bird species, including nesting California gulls and western grebes.
A public consultation on the proposal was held during the summer of 2009.
Recreational activities on the lake in the east basin of Lac La Biche, such as boating, fishing and snowmobiling, will not be affected.
Other activities such as hiking, picnicking and rustic camping will continue to be allowed on the islands in designated areas.