Amherst police officer resigns, accused of misrepresenting credentials

Amherst police Chief Dwayne Pike said in a statement that public safety was not affected by the situation. ( - image credit)

Police in Amherst, N.S., are investigating one of their officers amid allegations he misrepresented his qualifications for the job.

The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service is now allocating extra resources to reviewing every file the officer handled, after two cases were dismissed earlier this month.

Police Chief Dwayne Pike, would not name the officer in a statement he issued Friday morning, but the Public Prosecution Service and court documents identify him as Mark Rushton.

One of the dismissed cases involved drugs and weapons charges against a 43-year-old Amherst woman. The charges were withdrawn on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, weapons charges against a 34-year-old Amherst man were also dropped.

The Public Prosecution Service said in a statement its review doesn't necessarily mean all cases Rushton was involved in will result in charges being withdrawn.

Public safety not at risk, says police chief

In his statement, Pike stressed that "at no time was the safety of the public or other police officers affected by this situation."

"Amherst police is taking all required steps to ensure this situation never happens again, including reviewing and updating our human resource policies and procedures," he said.

Pike said Rushton resigned as the police force began investigating his credentials. It's not clear what prompted the investigation or which credentials were allegedly misrepresented.

While Pike wouldn't talk about Rushton in his statement, a June 2023 departmental report posted online offers some background.

"Mark is an experienced police officer, spending time in the military police and as a municipal police officer in Alberta as a sergeant," the report says.

"He brings a myriad of experience and skills to our department as a seasoned investigator and has been involved in many aspects of policing including specialized law enforcement units and police administration."

Efforts to reach Rushton were unsuccessful.