As the Timmins Police Services Board was releasing details on legal fees Thursday, the board also took action on the issue of police officers who continue to earn their pay while they are suspended from duty.
The board passed a motion calling for the chief of police to have the power to suspend officers without pay when they are charged with serious offences. Such action would need to be approved by the Ontario government, to come into effect.
The pay issue has derived significant local attention since, in recent years, several Timmins police officers have been disciplined, or are facing discipline, and are also suspended from duty. As the law stands now, section 89 (1) and 89 (2) of the Police Services Act, states that any officer suspected of, or charged with an offence, may be suspended with pay. The act does not allow for officers to be suspended without pay, unless the officer is Convicted of a crime and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, as outlined in Section 89 (6).
The law is a provincial statute, which trumps any local bylaw or decision by any group, such as a town council or police board that has less than standing that the provincial legislature. In each case in Timmins where an officer is off the job, or was off the job, for disciplinary reasons, the officer has continued to receive full pay. In some cases, this has gone on longer than a year.
The motion, which was presented by board chair and Timmins mayor Steve Black, said the Police Services Act should be amended to allow the local board to take action to suspend pay when an officer is charged or held in custody. The motion was approved by the board, consisting of Darlene Lafontaine, Doris Blouin-Harrison, Mike Doody and John Curley. The motion included the following proposals:
Timmins Police Services Board proposes the following amendments to the Police Services Act to allow the Chief of Police the discretion to suspend a police officer without pay when:1. A police officer is charged with a serious offense contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or any other Act, that is not related to the performance of the officers' duties, or
2. A police officer is charged with an offense and is held in custody, or is charged with an offense and is subject to a judicial interim release order with such conditions that prevent the officer from carrying out the duties of a police officer.
3. And to provide the Chief of Police with the authority to redcue the 'with pay' component of the suspension by 25% every three months on the understand that if the police officer is found not guilty that they be fully reimbursed any loss of wages during the suspension.
AND FURTHER THAT when a police officer is found guilty of a criminal offense that termination is immediate with no recourse under the Police Services Act.
The motion is to be distributed to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards and the Ontario Association of Chief of Police.
The issue has been spoken to previously, especially by Ontario police chiefs, who have argued that officers should be suspended without pay for offences committed regardless of whether officers are on duty or off duty.http://www.timminstimes.com/2015/03/12/ ... ithout-pay