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CPS officer fired for 'wholly unprofessional' interactions with suicidal woman

Last Updated Nov 8, 2019 at 6:25 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — A Calgary police officer has been fired for an inappropriate relationship with a 22-year-old woman who was vulnerable and suicidal.

Cst. Dave Pizzolato responded to a call of a suicidal woman in June of 2016, where the woman — identified only as Ms. M — had ingested drugs and told a friend she no longer wanted to live.

Ms. M is also a sexual assault survivor and a victim of human trafficking.

She was admitted to hospital, where she spent several days recovering.

During that time, Pizzolato began sending text messages. Around 100 were sent, with investigators ruling some of them were “suggestive” and going beyond the official duties of a police officer.

The woman told the staff at the Peter Lougheed Hospital that she was texting a police officer, and after reviewing the messages, they became concerned and forwarded them to superiors.

The day Ms. M was released from hospital, Pizzolato showed up at her apartment unannounced in his personal vehicle, with the intention to take her out for ice cream.

Ms. M told investigators this interaction was “creepy” and that she “was scared about what he might do to her as similar things have happened to her in the past,” according to a statement of facts provided by CPS.

At this time, Pizzolato was 48 years old and a 19-year veteran of the force.

He also had prior incidents, including “unsolicited contact with women he encountered in the line of duty.”

In a victim impact statement, Ms. M wrote that she was worried because Pizzolato knew where she lived and had her phone number.

Investigators write that it seems clear Pizzolato was trying to take advantage of the woman for his own personal gratification.

Eventually, this case went to court in May of 2019, with Pizzolato being found guilty of two counts of misconduct in September.

Superintendent Paul Manuel then ruled Pizzolato should be terminated as a penalty and wrote that Pizzolato broke public trust and has forsaken the values that make a person worthy of holding the public officer of a police officer.

The CBC reports that Pizzolato intends to appeal the decision.