Esquimat Fire Chief David Ward is standing by the department’s assistant chief who was issued a 90-day driving ban for drinking and driving while off duty earlier this year.
When police stopped George McGregor, a decorated former Esquimalt police officer, he received an administrative ban on his licence and his vehicle was impounded.
“The individual did not receive an impaired driving charge, he received a driving infraction,” said Ward. “To me it’s no different than someone that’s been driving who loses his licence for suspension for driving with too many speeding infractions.”
If the names of drivers given an administrative ban are publicly released, it may serve as an additional deterrent to impaired driving, said Coun. Don Linge. Names become a matter of public record when criminal charges are laid.
“Everybody should be treated equally,” Linge said. “If there’s some indication that, in fact, it’s not going to be swept under the carpet (then), in fact, somebody’s going to go, ‘Oh, maybe I won’t do it.’”
McGregor was not required to work during the driving ban – Ward directed him to take a one-time, six-week long service leave, which every municipal employee receives after 25 years, plus use some additional holiday time he was owed.
The ban would not have impacted McGregor’s work since he is not required to drive fire trucks in his administrative role, said Ward.
McGregor returned to his job in June.
Linge said he remains confident in McGregor’s abilities.
“He’s been great for the municipality and I have a great deal of respect for him and that continues on,” said Linge.