OPP officer faces crack-use claims

These are violations by the Ontario Provincial Police officers dealing with the Criminal Code of Canada, Controlled Substance and Abuse Act, Customs and Excise Act, etc.

OPP officer faces crack-use claims

Postby Thomas » Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:38 am

Month-long internal investigation results in charge of discreditable conduct.

Ontario Provincial Police motorcycle officer Const. Darren Zorn is no longer patrolling the Queensway.

The veteran Ottawa OPP officer, who is also a police association president, is now on leave after his own police force has accused him of smoking crack cocaine on "numerous occasions" and hanging around "persons of questionable character" in order to buy the highly-addictive street drug.

Zorn was served notice through his lawyer on Tuesday that he is charged with discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act for acting "in a disorderly manner or in a manner prejudicial to discipline or likely to bring discredit upon the reputation of the Ontario Provincial Police."

The allegations come after a months-long internal investigation that was launched after the OPP learned one of their own had allegedly crossed the line.

OPP internal allegations, signed-off on by Deputy Commissioner Vince Hawkes, say the trouble for the 11th Branch Ontario Provincial Police association president first arose last winter.

"On Feb. 7, 2012, you were in the company of a (woman) known to engage in illegal activity and abuse illegal drugs. The apartment smelled of freshly smoked crack cocaine and you appeared to be under the influence of a drug," the allegations state.

On May 5, 2012, OPP internal investigators allege, Zorn gave money to the same woman to buy him crack cocaine.

Zorn could be seen as recently as last month pulling motorists over on the Queensway. In light of the unproven allegations, Zorn is now on paid leave.

While the officer is not currently at work, he was required to attend a first appearance on the charges at an adjudication hearing at OPP headquarters in Orillia, Ont. on Wednesday.

Zorn didn't show up, and the hearing was told he couldn't make it because he was ill.

The legal notice sent to Zorn's lawyer on Tuesday included the following note, which was in bold, capitalized letters:

"If you do not attend at the hearing of this charge, the presiding officer may proceed in your absence and you will not be entitled to any further notice in the proceedings."

The OPP has not issued a press release about the internal allegations.

Zorn, who has since been replaced in his role at the police association by an acting president, did not immediately return messages left on his mobile phone.

The maximum penalty under the Police Services Act is dismissal.

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Re: OPP officer faces crack-use claims

Postby Thomas » Sat May 04, 2013 2:05 pm

OPP officer back at work pending disciplinary hearing over alleged drug use

Ottawa OPP Const. Darren Zorn, was charged under the police act for allegedly smoking crack cocaine on “numerous occasions” and hanging around “persons of questionable character” in order to buy the highly-addictive street drug.

The Ontario Provincial Police has launched an internal review to see if a disgraced officer can ever give credible testimony in court again. His regular duties will not resume until his disciplinary hearing has concluded. Zorn’s next hearing date is Jan. 9. The veteran Ottawa OPP officer, who is also a police association president, is back to work in uniform but apparently not patrolling anymore.

Zorn, who has since been replaced in his role at the police association by an acting president, faces a maximum penalty of dismissal if found guilty under the Police Services Act. More often than not, penalties amount to docked pay.

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Re: OPP officer faces crack-use claims

Postby Thomas » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:33 am

Crack-smoking police officer demoted, sanctioned

OTTAWA — An Ottawa OPP constable who patrolled the Queensway for 20 years will have to submit to random drug testing for the duration of his career as part of an internal penalty that’s been levied against him for smoking crack cocaine and hanging around a known criminal.

The Citizen has further learned that the constable — Darren Zorn, a veteran motorcycle cop — was quietly demoted from a first-class constable to a third-class constable in the fall, when he pleaded guilty to discreditable conduct.

The officer resigned as the local branch president of the OPP Association police union after he was caught trying to buy crack downtown in May 2012, according to a newly obtained internal discipline report. Zorn was spared criminal charges even though internal affairs interrupted his drug buy, in which he gave his criminal girlfriend $100 to get the drugs.

It wasn’t his first pass, either. Months before, in February 2012, he was also spared charges after Ottawa city police responded to an apartment, where they found the officer with the same girlfriend, and he appeared to have been smoking crack. The discipline report explains that the officers recognized him and decided against pursuing criminal charges and instead reported him to his OPP superiors.

In turn, Ontario Provincial Police internal-affairs detectives launched an investigation against one of their own, and ended up busting him right before he scored his next rock in the ByWard Market.

Described as remorseful by the disciplinary hearing officer, Zorn admitted to internal-affairs detectives early on that he had a bad drug habit, and that it had been going on for at least six years.

In her decision, dated Oct. 17 and obtained by the Citizen on Monday, the hearing officer chastised Zorn for violating his oath of office and supporting “gun and gang violence” by purchasing crack.

The hearing officer, Toronto police Staff Supt. Jane Wilcox, said the constable’s serious misconduct betrayed one of his force’s priorities — combating the illegal drug trade.

“As a senior constable with nearly 25 years of policing experience, Constable Zorn has witnessed the carnage the illegal drug trade can wreak on a community, a family and an individual. As an experienced branch president of the OPP Association, Constable Zorn was very well aware of the impact illegal drug use can have on an officer’s career and very well aware of the supports provided by the OPP and other agencies to assist those struggling with a substance abuse problem or other difficult personal issues.

“Constable Zorn chose to disregard the carnage, his Oath of Office and the help available to him in order to pursue his personal agenda; ultimately, supporting the drug trade in the community in which he swore to serve. Constable Zorn was fortunate that, in the interests of the officer’s well-being, OPP management decided to disrupt his intended criminal behaviour on May 7, 2012, rather than pursue criminal charges. Otherwise, it is possible that Constable Zorn would be facing a penalty of termination.”

The hearing officer also said she hoped the officer was grateful for a lenient penalty. The decision notes that while he sought help for his addiction, he did so only after he was caught by police.

The decision said that if Zorn, who works at the OPP detachment in Kanata, starts smoking crack again, management will seek to end his employment.

The OPP launched an internal review in 2013 to see if the officer can ever give credible testimony in court again given his longtime hard drug habit.

The police force has not publicly revealed the conclusion of that internal review but some of his colleagues privately say Zorn will never see the inside of a courtroom again as an officer.

Zorn is back to work in uniform but apparently not patrolling anymore.

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