OPP pilot could be disciplined for speaking out

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OPP pilot could be disciplined for speaking out

Postby Thomas » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:15 am

A long-time Ontario Provincial Police officer could be facing disciplinary action by his employer for publicly criticizing its decision to relocate Sudbury's OPP search-and-rescue helicopter to Orillia.

An internal complaint against Orillia-based OPP helicopter pilot, Sgt. Dan Mulligan, was investigated by the service's Professional Standards Bureau after Mulligan wrote a letter to The Sudbury Star, The Star has learned.

Allegations of discreditable conduct and breach of confidence, as outlined in the Police Services Act of Ontario, are being levelled against Mulligan, The Star has learned.

When contacted, Mulligan confirmed he is facing disciplinary action, but would not comment further on the matter.

In his letter to the editor, published in the May 7, 2015, edition of The Sudbury Star, Mulligan, who is from Sudbury, said northern lives would be lost if the helicopter search and rescue team was transferred to Orillia, an hour's flight away.

A sergeant with the OPP's Aviation Services Section, Mulligan said his letter was his personal opinion and not "in any way designed to be representative of my employer."

OPP corporate spokesman Sgt. Peter Leon told The Star on Wednesday he couldn't comment on questions about any disciplinary action Mulligan may be facing.

Charles Young, an inspector with the OPP's Professional Standards Bureau, would only say he wasn't in a position to respond.

Young provided background on how internal complaints and those from the public are dealt with under the Police Services Act.

If a complaint is filed, an officer is notified and the matter could be resolved informally, with the officer given an opportunity to accept responsibility, said Young.

If the complaint is formal, a notice of hearing is issued to the member. If it goes to a first appearance, it becomes a matter of public record.

"Once it's there, then an organization would be in a position to speak about it," said Young. "But before it gets to that level, there is no discussion."

Nickel Belt New Democrat MPP France Gelinas, who was the first politician to slam the OPP decision to relocate the Sudbury helicopter, was angry to hear Mulligan could be facing disciplinary action.

"Every worker should have whistle-blower protection," said Gelinas, "and I don't care if you work for the OPP or you work in the hospital or you work for Ornge.

"Look at Orgne. If those workers had had whistle-blower protection, we would have saved three-quarters of a billion dollars, we wouldn't have driven our air ambulance into the ground, and tried to rebuild it from ashes and bits and pieces ...

"Every workplace should have whistle-blower protection and the OPP doesn't. They are not allowed to talk," said Gelinas.

She is questioning the validity of a review being conducted by the OPP on whether the helicopter search-and-rescue team should remain in Sudbury. That may be a moot point.

The Sudbury chopper has been redeployed to Orillia during the Pan Am Games, and Sudbury Liberal MPP Glenn Thibeault said he was told by Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi that it would stay in Sudbury until that OPP review is completed.

Thibeault said the OPP review will examine if other search-and-rescue resources in the North, such as Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry helicopters and those operated by the private sector, can support OPP teams if both police helicopters flew out of Orillia.

Gelinas said she has contacted Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry workers and they say they aren't trained for search and rescue missions, and that their aircraft fly higher and faster than OPP helicopters.

Gelinas has tried to get a date from the OPP when the Sudbury helicopter was being relocated, got tired of being "stone-walled" by the OPP and spoke to the three employees working at the Sudbury OPP helicopter base at Greater Sudbury Airport.

The engineer was laid off May 13, told to "clean out his tools" and has been sitting at home collecting full pay, according to the terms of his collective agreement. He will retire in a few months, she said.

One OPP pilot, the first officer, has left the OPP and gone to work for Orgne air ambulance, two hangars away from where the OPP chopper was stationed. The second pilot is working out of Orillia and is being "encouraged to move" there, said Gelinas.

She said she can't find out exactly who is conducting the review and what its terms of reference are. "But I can tell you there is nobody left in Sudbury. If the review was to say, 'Oh my God, we made a huge mistake,' they wouldn't have an engineer because they've laid him off," and there would only be one pilot remaining.

"To everybody on the ground, the deal is done. "

She said the only way we will get the Sudbury helicopter back "is if we shame them more than we did back in May. Shame on you for doing this," she said of the OPP decision.

When that decision was made in May, OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said it was the right one. After studying helicopter use, "all indications are that the people of Ontario will be better served if OPP helicopter maintenance is centralized in Orillia," he said in a letter to The Star.

From May 2011 to September 2014, 75 per cent of calls for OPP helicopters were to southern Ontario. During that same period, the helicopter based in Sudbury flew north of Sudbury 162 times and south of Orillia 185 times, Hawkes said, while the helicopter based in Orillia flew north of Sudbury 30 times and south of Orillia 307 times.

"It's about improving service to the entire province, including Sudbury area: After the change takes place, the two helicopters will be staffed and available 365 days a year from 6 a.m. until midnight," he said.

http://www.thesudburystar.com/2015/07/2 ... eaking-out
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OPP officer from Bracebridge pleads not guilty to insubordin

Postby Thomas » Wed Nov 30, 2016 4:12 pm

OPP officer from Bracebridge pleads not guilty to insubordination

ORILLIA — A Bracebridge resident and OPP police officer is denying he violated orders from his superiors not to attend a conference that discussed the legalization of marijuana.

Sgt. Dan Mulligan, who is a member of the Ontario Provincial Police’s Aviation Services Section/Helicopter Unit, faced one count of discreditable conduct and two counts of insubordination during a Police Services Act tribunal on Monday and Tuesday. The hearing was held at the OPP’s general headquarters in Orillia.

“Not guilty, sir,” Mulligan said when asked for his plea by Superintendent Greg Walton, who was the adjudicator for the hearing.

The charges stem from a conference where Mulligan was invited to speak, on Sept. 17 in London, Ont.

The gathering was the Not By Accident Conference, with the theme Cannabis Legalization: Is this a trip we want to take?

Mulligan was one of the featured speakers at the conference, which was co-sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Health. He was speaking at the gathering on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, also known as L.E.A.P., a non-profit organization made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who speak out on what they perceive as the failures of existing drug policies.

Mulligan, who is a member of L.E.A.P., said he had given the conference organizers a disclaimer that his views did not reflect those of his employer, but that part had been left off his biography on the meeting’s program.

Staff Sgt. Dan Cameron, who had been Mulligan’s superior for five years until this past November, on Monday said that he had received instructions from his superiors to order the sergeant not to attend the conference. He gave the order, both written and verbally, to Mulligan on June 30.

Mulligan, who was on vacation at the time of the conference, did attend and speak at the forum, which resulted in his three charges.

Inspector Mark Andrews, not retired, was also at the conference and noticed Mulligan was there. He said he was aware of the order for the sergeant not to attend and speak and reminded him as such.

“I understand sir,” Andrews said was Mulligan’s response when he was questioned by the inspector.

James Girvin, Mulligan’s lawyer from the Ontario Provincial Police Association, told the tribunal that his client was at the conference as an individual and not as an officer. He said the order from his superiors to not attend was “unlawful,” and that Mulligan could not be “lawfully directed” what to do with his free time when he was off duty.

He read from a study paper from 2000 that stated that officers “… were entitled to a private life while off duty …” and that orders of a superior officer “ … must be obeyed unless there is a lawful excuse not to do so.”

There is no time frame as to when the verdict may come down. If found guilty, the 33-year veteran may face a loss in rank and pay for a period of time.

http://www.simcoe.com/news-story/699378 ... rdination/
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OPP pilot guilty of misconduct for writing letter

Postby Thomas » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:39 pm

OPP pilot guilty of misconduct for writing letter criticizing relocation of search-and-rescue helicopter

The Ontario Provincial Police sergeant charged with two counts of misconduct for writing a letter to the editor of The Sudbury Star has been found guilty after an OPP discipline hearing.

Sgt. Dan Mulligan was charged with breach of confidence and discreditable conduct for writing a letter criticizing the OPP for relocating its search-and-rescue helicopter from Sudbury to Orillia.

The allegations of misconduct were heard Oct. 3 and Nov. 8 of last year before OPP Supt. Robin D. McElary-Downer in Orillia. The decision with reasons was released Friday.

Mulligan pleaded not guilty to both counts.

McElary-Downer wrote in her decision that the “whistle blower defence” was central to the charges, but said it didn’t apply in this instance.


Mulligan testified and readily admitted he wrote the letter to The Sudbury Star that was published May 7, 2015. In it, the pilot said moving the OPP chopper out of the northeast “amounts to a classic shell game at best and a very negligent crapshoot with northern lives …”

Claudia Brabazon, counsel for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of the Attorney General, told the hearing Mulligan “ought to have known his actions would bring discredit to the OPP.”

Brabazon called the language Mulligan used in the letter, parts of which were also published in the North Bay Nugget, “incendiary and alarmist.”

In her decision, McElary-Downer wrote: “Ultimately when (Brabazon) challenged the officer in regard to whether lives had been lost as a result of the relocation, he said no but added it was inevitable. She submitted this was a speculative risk.”

She said the evidence was convincing that breach of confidence was proven because Mulligan communicated with media on an OPP matter without authorization.

Mulligan testified that his intent in writing the letter to The Star was to “kick some politicos (sic) into gear and make an attempt to reverse the decision and get the helicopter back into the north as soon as possible.”

James Girvin, the lawyer for the Ontario Provincial Police Association and for Mulligan, said at the hearing the issue of disrepute was “rebutted” by the public interest, “the concern about public and officer safety.”

On the matter of discreditable conduct, McElary-Downer said the letter to The Sudbury Star contained language that in no uncertain terms criticized the OPP’s decision to relocate the helicopter.

The superintendent cited Mulligan for writing, “I couldn’t possibly express in publishable words how strongly I object to such an ill-conceived relocation of such an important aircraft.”

Mulligan also said the OPP has a “moral and legal obligation” to continue to provide professional search-and-rescue service to northern families.

“I find Sgt. Mulligan’s choice of language tersely accused the OPP of gambling with the lives of those who live in the north,” said McElary-Downer. “He portrayed the organization (OPP) as a heartless police service (that) only cares about finances.”

The OPP decision to relocate the Sudbury helicopter was, in part, to save money, an estimated $254,000 if it operated out of Orillia.

In his decision, the superintendent referenced “the anticipated 254 million cost savings with the relocation.”

Mulligan told McElary-Downer he could not sleep had he not spoken up to the media. He said he felt he “needed to speak up as the senior pilot and say the decision was unquestionably a mistake.”

In the decision, the superintendent said money has been found for a third OPP helicopter, to be positioned in the North. Effective Nov. 1, 2016, the OPP entered into a six-month contract with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in Thunder Bay.

“The pilots have been assured that once the test is complete a new helicopter will be purchased,” she wrote.

In his testimony, Mulligan said he had sworn an oath to protect the public and uphold the constitution, “although he appreciated it also limited his ability to go to the media.”

Girvin referenced legal precedents where there were occasions when public servants are permitted to speak out.

Brabazon said Mulligan decided to speak publicly about the helicopter transfer because of an issue with his supervisor.

She closed by saying “it was not just the criticism, but the tone of Sgt. Mulligan’s criticism which was disrespectful of the decision-making process.

“It was alarmist and suggested the OPP was not considering the impact on human lives,” Brabazon told the hearing.

McElary-Downer ruled the whistle blower defence did not stand in Mulligan’s case. “Sgt. Mulligan would like the tribunal to believe he had no alternative but to go to the media because he had no confidence his bureau command staff would listen to his concerns. In my view, the evidence indicated otherwise so I found this to be a self-serving notion,” the superintendent wrote.

Mulligan had a duty to bring his concerns to the OPP first, said the superintendent, and he did not.

McElary-Downer said it could not be said Mulligan “lacked a genuine concern in regard to the impact the relocation of the helicopter would have on public safety. To the contrary, I found he was very passionate about its utility and accessibility to the north during inclement weather.

“Notwithstanding, he failed to convince me his only option was to go to the media, rather than report his concerns through the chain of command,” McElary-Downer wrote.

Ultimately, Mulligan violated his “duty of loyalty to the OPP when he wrote the letter to The Sudbury Star.”

The pilot showed “no restraint or loyalty to the OPP when he openly criticized it for its corporate decision,” said the superintendent.

Penalties against Mulligan for the convictions under the Police Services Act, if any, will be announced at a later date.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canad ... helicopter

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/natio ... story.html
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Sgt. Dan Mulligan fought charges of discreditable conduct

Postby Thomas » Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:15 pm

Sgt. Dan Mulligan fought charges of discreditable conduct, insubordination

An OPP sergeant who stood before two professional standards bureau tribunals in the fall has found out his fate in both cases.

Sgt. Dan Mulligan, a 30-year veteran of the OPP, has been found guilty of two counts of discreditable conduct, one count of breach of confidence and one count of insubordination stemming from the two hearings. He was found not guilty on a second count of insubordination.

Supt. Greg Walton heard the case for one count of discreditable conduct and two counts of insubordination, Nov. 28 and 29 in Orillia. Walton issued his ruling Monday.

Mulligan was charged under the Police Services Act following his presence and participation at the Not by Accident Southwest Injury Prevention Conference in London, Ont., Sept. 17, 2015. Mulligan was appearing as a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and speaking on the legalization of marijuana in Canada.

Some 10 weeks earlier, senior members of the OPP were made aware of Mulligan’s participation in the conference. On the direction of Supt. William Davies, Staff Sgt. Dan Cameron gave Mulligan a direct order not to attend the conference. That order was then repeated via email.

But Mulligan went anyway, and spoke as planned. At that time, he was reminded of the order by a fellow OPP officer in attendance at the conference. Soon after, the charges were laid.

To determine if Mulligan was insubordinate, Walton first had to consider if Mulligan’s conduct was discreditable. Walton used Mulligan’s actions in trying to separate himself from his employer as proof he was doing wrong by the police service.

“Anytime a person making a public presentation needs to open with a disclaimer to the effect their employer does not endorse what they are about to say, that should set off alarm for them” Walton wrote. “They should know they ought to reconsider their position, meet with their employer in an attempt to come to a resolution or at the very least, tread lightly.”

Walton ruled by Mulligan regularly identifying himself as a police officer, through letters to the editor and other columns and news reports on marijuana legalization, he used his status to advance a position. Walton wrote “Mulligan cannot have his cake and eat it too,” and be exempt of any responsibility.

“If Sgt. Mulligan attended in a public forum and spoke out about his position on the legalization of marijuana without making any reference to his profession or his employer, it is unlikely that would result in misconduct,” Walton added.

On the insubordination charges, James Girvin, counsel for Mulligan, argued while there may be repercussions for a police officer’s off-duty conduct, the OPP doesn’t have the authority to tell a member not to engage in that conduct.

But that conduct was presenting an opinion in contrast to current Canadian laws, Andrea Huckins, counsel for the OPP, argued, which created “a potential conflict of interest and interfering and adversely impacting his ability to perform his duty as a police officer.”

“Common sense suggests a senior member of the OPP ought to intervene anytime they become aware a member of their service is about to commit what could be considered misconduct in any form, on-duty or off-duty,” Walton wrote.

Mulligan was cleared of the second insubordination charge, stemming from the verbal reminder he received from a fellow officer at the Sept. 17 conference. Walton found that such a reminder of a “current and valid order” did not constitute a new order and wasn’t a lawful order Mulligan disobeyed.

Mulligan had also been charged with breach of confidence and discreditable conduct for writing a letter criticizing the OPP for relocating its search-and-rescue helicopter from Sudbury to Orillia. Those allegations were heard Oct. 3 and Nov. 8 of last year before OPP Supt. Robin D. McElary-Downer in Orillia, with a ruling handed down Jan. 10.

Claudia Brabazon, counsel for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of the Attorney General, called the language Mulligan used in the letter, parts of which were also published in the North Bay Nugget, “incendiary and alarmist.”

In her decision, McElary-Downer wrote: “Ultimately when (Brabazon) challenged the officer in regard to whether lives had been lost as a result of the relocation, he said no but added it was inevitable. She submitted this was a speculative risk.”

She said the evidence was convincing that breach of confidence was proven because Mulligan communicated with media on an OPP matter without authorization.

Mulligan had a duty to bring his concerns to the OPP first, said the superintendent, and he did not.

McElary-Downer said it could not be said Mulligan “lacked a genuine concern in regard to the impact the relocation of the helicopter would have on public safety. To the contrary, I found he was very passionate about its utility and accessibility to the north during inclement weather.

“Notwithstanding, he failed to convince me his only option was to go to the media, rather than report his concerns through the chain of command,” McElary-Downer wrote.

Mulligan pleaded not guilty to all charges. The punishments for the convictions were not announced with either decision.

http://www.orilliapacket.com/2017/01/26 ... ordination
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Cop living in Bracebridge found guilty of discreditable cond

Postby Thomas » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:43 pm

Cop living in Bracebridge found guilty of discreditable conduct again

ORILLIA — A Bracebridge resident and OPP police officer has been found guilty of violating orders from his superiors not to attend a conference that discussed the legalization of marijuana.

Sgt. Dan Mulligan, who is a member of the Ontario Provincial Police’s Aviation Services Section/Helicopter Unit, faced one count of discreditable conduct and two counts of insubordination during a Police Services Act tribunal in late November at the OPP’s general headquarters in Orillia.

Adjudicator Superintendent Greg Walton last week found Mulligan guilty of discreditable conduct and one count of insubordination, but not guilty on the second count of insubordination.

Neither Mulligan nor his counsel, James Girvin of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, were available for comment on the ruling.

The verdict was made late week, several weeks after Mulligan had been found guilty by a separate tribunal of two counts of misconduct for writing a letter to the editor that was critical of his employer.

In the latest decision, Mulligan was charged with the three counts after he had been ordered not to attend the Not By Accident Conference, with the theme Cannabis Legalization: Is this a trip we want to take?

Mulligan was one of the featured speakers at the Sept. 17 conference in London. He was speaking at the gathering on behalf
of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, also known as L.E.A.P., a nonprofit organization made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who speak out on what they perceive as the failures of existing drug policies.

Mulligan, who is a member of L.E.A.P., said he had given the conference organizers a disclaimer that his views did not reflect those of his employer, but that part had been left off his biography on the meeting’s program.

In his ruling, Walton stated that Mulligan “acted in a manner prejudicial to discipline which was likely to bring discredit upon the reputation of the OPP.”

He went on to say, “…There is no question Sgt. Mulligan attended this conference while off-duty, but he presented himself as a serving, experienced police officer. In doing so, he came perilously close to putting himself on-duty, in fact that viewpoint could perhaps be taken by some, but I will not rely on that perspective … the public expects their police service to display the characteristics of impartiality, neutrality, fairness and integrity; the public must have confidence the laws are being applied evenly and fairly. I do not see that Sgt. Mulligan’s behaviour demonstrated those characteristics.”

Walton determined that while Mulligan did disobey a direct order from Staff Sgt. Dan Cameron prior to the conference, the caution made to him by then- Insp. Mark Andrews on the day of the conference not to speak did not constitute insubordination.

“Even if I did find this to be an order, in fairness to Sgt. Mulligan, I would not have found him guilty of insubordination for not following a second order which is in essence, a mirror image of the original order,” Walton ruled.

http://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story ... uct-again/
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Cop punished for attending cannabis conference

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:58 pm

Cop living in Bracebridge punished for attending cannabis conference

BRACEBRIDGE — A Bracebridge resident and OPP police officer found guilty of violating orders from his superiors not to attend a conference that discussed the legalization of marijuana has received his punishment.

gt. Dan Mulligan, who is a member of the Ontario Provincial Police’s Aviation Services Section/Helicopter Unit, has been ordered to perform 40 hours of unpaid duty on a charge of insubordination and another 24 hours of unpaid duty for discreditable conduct.

Mulligan was charged after he had been ordered not to attend the Not By Accident Conference, with the theme "Cannabis Legalization: Is this a trip we want to take?"

The veteran officer was found guilty in late January of one count of discreditable conduct and two counts of insubordination following a Police Services Act tribunal in late November at the OPP’s general headquarters in Orillia.

He was found not guilty on the second count of insubordination.

Neither Mulligan nor his counsel, James Girvin of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, were available for comment on the penalty.

However, in an interview with this newspaper after the guilty verdict in late January, Girvin said the OPP’s actions involving the officer showed the OPP was trying to exert “control over officers’ off-duty conduct” and preclude him from asserting “an opinion that may be contrary to their (the OPP's) opinion.”

“I think that it is an important issue. We didn't raise issues related to freedom of speech at this stage of the process because we felt very strongly that the legal issue was the OPP didn’t have the lawful authority to restrict an officer's off-duty conduct,” he said.

Mulligan was speaking at the Sept. 17 gathering on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a nonprofit organization made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who speak out on what they perceive as the failures of existing drug policies.

Mulligan's disclaimer that his views did not reflect those of his employer had been left off his biography on the meeting’s program.

In his ruling, Walton stated that Mulligan “acted in a manner prejudicial to discipline which was likely to bring discredit upon the reputation of the OPP.”

The veteran OPP officer is still waiting to learn of his penalty from a separate tribunal held late last year when he had been found guilty of two counts of misconduct for writing a letter to the editor that was critical of his employer.

Mulligan stated in the letter that the move of an OPP helicopter out of the northeast “amounts to a classic shell game at best and a very negligent crapshoot with northern lives ... for our organization to suggest that financial efficiencies to the tune of a quarter-million dollars annually can be achieved by relocating the latest, $6.5-million provincial resource ... as a former Sudbury boy with family remaining in the North, I couldn’t possibly express in publishable words how strongly I object to such an ill-conceived relocation of such an important aircraft.”

http://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story ... onference/
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