Time to stop paying police officers on suspension

If the drift of Canada towards a police state has not yet affected you directly, you would do well to recall the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, writing in Germany before his arrest in the 1930s: "The Nazis came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I was a Protestant, so I didn't speak up....by that time there was nobody left to speak up for anyone."

Time to stop paying police officers on suspension

Postby Thomas » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:19 am

TORONTO - Released on bail, Peel Regional Police Det. Craig Wattier was allowed to go home with his wife to await trial on child porn and fraud charges. And lucky for him, the 30-year veteran gets to sit there and collect his police paycheque while doing nothing at all.

How much longer must taxpayers pay cops who’ve been benched under serious allegations while their charges and appeals take years to slowly wind their way through the system? Why is Ontario the only province in the country that prevents its police chiefs from suspending officers without pay?

The rogues gallery of cops milking the system is infuriating:

Convicted Durham Police Const. Glen Turpin has collected more than $600,000 in salary since being suspended in 2008. After several trials and appeals, a tribunal is now deciding whether he should be fired for three cases of excessive force. On full pay, he also runs his own business.

Eight Toronto Police officers are currently fiddling their thumbs at home while getting paid, including three facing charges of gang sexual assault. That dubious roster used to include former Toronto Police staff inspector Steve Izzett, a master at playing the delay game. He managed to drag out disciplinary proceedings for almost five years — collecting his $135,000 annual salary and nearing his full pension — before abruptly quitting just minutes before the police tribunal was going to fire him for sexual harassment, misconduct and destroying computer files.

In Peel, Const. Carlton Watson has been banking his full wages since 2011 when he was arrested for his involvement in a fake accident insurance scam. He’s not even presumed innocent anymore — he was convicted six months ago on 40 charges of fraud, breach of trust and obstructing justice. But under the provincial Police Act, Watson continues to draw his salary until he’s either sentenced to jail time or fired by a police disciplinary hearing. And even then, he can still appeal and go back on the payroll.

This is even more outrageous: Bad enough he was already on paid suspension since 2012 due to other serious charges, Hamilton Police Const. Craig Ruthowsky was recently swept up in the Project Pharaoh bust and charged with being involved in a criminal organization, as well as breach of trust and conspiracy to traffic cocaine.

Yup, he’s still collecting his paycheque as well.

They’re supposed to be paid to serve and protect. Instead, Ontarians are funding their leisure time to the tune of millions of dollars a year. One ex-cop even mocked the insanity of the current system: Finally fired after collecting $400,000 in salary and benefits during his three-year suspension, former Waterloo Regional Police constable Craig Markham thanked the police service for its “nice gift” that let him sit at home, play golf, travel and train to become a firefighter while getting paid “a first class pay check (sic).”

A few years ago former Durham police chief Mike Ewles was so frustrated by the idle officers that he began ordering them back to work in non-policing roles.

Since 2007, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) has lobbied Queen’s Park for change. Their most recent resolution, passed in June, calls on the government to let them withhold the wages of those cops facing the kind of serious allegations of misconduct that would result in their ultimate firing. Wattier’s boss — Peel police Chief Jennifer Evans — is leading the demand as head of OACP. The police associations, of course, are opposed.

Last week, the Ontario minister of community safety and correctional services signalled that change may finally be at hand. Yasir Naqvi said the controversial suspension with pay issue will be on the table this fall as he consults on the overhaul of the antiquated Police Services Act of 1990.

It’s long overdue. If exonerated, suspended cops should receive their back pay with interest. But if they’re not, isn’t it time they stopped profiting from their crime?

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/08/20/ti ... suspension
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Ontario to review rule guaranteeing suspended cops full pay

Postby Thomas » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:20 am

Craig Wattier, a 30-year veteran of Peel Regional Police and a supervisor in the Technological Crime Unit, was charged this week with fraud and child pornography. The officer has been suspended but he will continue to draw a paycheque as required under current provincial legislation, Peel police chief Jennifer Evans said in a statement.

Just how long Wattier will remain on suspension — and how many months of salary he’ll accumulate while he does so — remain unknown. The news has brought the controversial issue of officers suspended with pay once again to the fore.

Several high-profile cases of cops suspended for serious offences who then continued to receive their salary and benefits for months – and sometimes years – have angered the public and police chiefs alike.

In 2009, David Doel, a high-ranking officer with the Hamilton Police Service, was suspended and soon after charged with having sex on duty, keeping pornography on his work computer, using police cameras to spy for personal reasons and using the national criminal database for personal reasons. In total, he faced 14 charges under the Police Services Act.

In the four years it took for his case to be resolved — which only ended with Doel retiring — he racked up more than $550,000 in salary and benefits.

In 2011, Craig Markham, a former Waterloo Regional Police officer, was suspended with pay for a total of three years after he was charged criminally with breach of trust. He was also charged under the Police Services Act for breach of confidence, insubordination and discreditable conduct for passing on confidential police information to a civilian.

He sent an email to the police service’s solicitor in March, thanking police for his salary while he played golf, travelled and trained to become a firefighter.

“I am very thankful and fortunate to have received such as a nice gift from WRPS (Waterloo Regional Police Service) over the last three years. You have opened up others doors for me and have paid me to sit back and watch. What a dream come true,” Markham wrote.

Currently, Ontario is the only province in Canada that does not give police chiefs the discretion to suspend an officer without pay. Even officers who are convicted of an offence in Ontario are eligible for pay if the conviction is under appeal. The only situation in which an officer is not paid while suspended is if they are convicted and imprisoned.

The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services announced last week that it is planning a review of the province’s Police Services Act, an announcement well-received by Hamilton police chief Glenn De Caire.

In April 2014, Glenn De Caire spearheaded a proposal put forward by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police asking the government to end the controversial law requiring that officers be paid while suspended from duty.

“The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police has been working on this issue for almost a decade,” De Caire says. “We asked the government to provide chiefs with the authority to suspend without pay in circumstances where officers are charged with criminal offences, are held in custody, or in serious Police Services Act matters where we would look for the dismissal of the officer.”

“From the Hamilton perspective, we are very encouraged that the ministry is intent on opening the Act to address many issues. Suspension without pay is but one of them.”
At present, De Caire says he believes there to be 12 Hamilton police officers currently on suspension, costing the police force about $1.2 million a year.

All police forces in the province are governed by the Police Services Act, which has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1990. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ plan to overhaul the act will hold consultations and call for public feedback in the fall.

No one from the ministry, the Police Association of Ontario or the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards was immediately available for comment.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybr ... 26431.html
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