OPP Officer Charged By SIU with dangerous driving

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.

Criminals will get away with OPP not rushing to calls

Postby Thomas » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:50 pm

Criminals will get away with OPP not rushing to calls, lawyer of cop guilty of dangerous driving says

A Windsor lawyer insists his client wasn’t lying when he said police officers like himself don’t race to calls anymore.

“There will be people who die because of this,” defence lawyer Dan Scott, who represents OPP Const. Jamie Porto, said Wednesday. “Criminals will get away.”

Porto was found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm for an October 2014 crash in St. Joachim. Porto was racing to a call when he crashed his unmarked cruiser into another car at the intersection of county roads 42 and 31. Ryan Coombs, the driver Porto hit, suffered a concussion and two broken ribs. Coombs’s car spun through the intersection, narrowly missing a young mother pushing a stroller before taking out a pump at a gas station on the corner. Porto’s cruiser hit a house, destroying the front porch.

Porto was driving 178 km/h, 3½ times the posted speed limit of 50 km/h, through a construction zone and past a school. Ironically, the crash occurred in a community safety zone where fines are doubled for speeders.

The Superior Court judge now considering an appropriate sentence for Porto found the manner in which the officer was driving to be unreasonable.

Porto told the Justice Bruce Thomas this week that he and his colleagues have heeded the judge’s ruling.

“We get there when we get there is the best approach now, regardless of the emergency,” Porto said in a written statement to the court.

But at least one St. Joachim resident questions Porto’s sincerity.

“I don’t think that’s a true statement,” said Darlene Trepanier, contacted Wednesday at her gas station that was damaged in the crash.

“I see them. They’re still going with hustle like they should be — hustle and common sense.”

Trepanier said cruisers aren’t flying by the way Porto did. But they weren’t before Porto’s crash, either.

“I hadn’t seen that recklessness before or since, not like that.”

Court heard this week of an internal memo that went out to OPP officers 11 days after Porto’s crash.

They’re still going with hustle like they should be — hustle and common sense

In it, Staff Sgt. Ed Marocko warned officers that St. Joachim residents were threatening to start a petition over the way police officers drive through their sleepy village.

“For quite some time a group of citizens in the hamlet of St. Joachim have the perception that police cruisers unnecessarily speed through the main area of town,” Marocko said in his memo. He warned that “eyes are upon us” and urged officers to conscious of speeding.

Marocko told officers that the then head of the Lakeshore detachment had tried to smooth things over with residents, to no avail. “The perception is still there,” Marocko wrote.

“We will of course challenge that and defend our members’ actions,” Marocko said, before reminding officers of the rule that says they must drive in a manner that is “legal, safe and appropriate” when on duty.

Insp. Glenn Miller, commanding officer of the Essex OPP, would not address submissions heard in court this week at Porto’s sentencing hearing. “I can’t make a statement… it’s still before the courts. However, what I can say is that public safety continues to be the focus of everything we do in policing.”

Miller said his officers are allowed to exceed posted speed limits when responding to an emergency provided their lights and sirens are on. “Officers certainly understand they are of no service to anyone if they don’t arrive.”

He added: “Our officers are held accountable for their driving actions.”

Miller would not discuss what sanctions Porto might face at work, but Porto’s lawyer said the officer will likely face a one-year demotion that will cost him $15,000 in salary.

Scott said Porto’s personal car insurance will also double.

Scott, a former police officer himself, said Porto’s case was the topic of discussion at a recent conference for police associations across Canada. He said the finding of guilt has had a “chilling effect” on police officers across the nation.

“Police officers are of the mind you need to get there, you need to help,” Scott said. “Well, now they’re not going to race anywhere because they’re putting themselves at risk.”

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canad ... ells-court
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OPP Officer Sentenced In Serious St. Joachim Crash

Postby Thomas » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:40 pm

OPP Constable Jamie Porto is banned from driving for a year and will have to pay a $2,500 fine.

Justice Bruce Thomas sentenced the Essex County OPP officer Wednesday in connection with an October 2014 crash in St. Joachim that seriously injured the driver of the other vehicle.

At the time, Porto was on his way to the scene of another fiery crash, and his lawyer, Daniel Scott says his conviction last December for dangerous driving causing bodily harm has put a chill on police officers.

“Police officers speak to me frequently,” says Scott. “I know they’re not rushing like they used to.”

Scott had asked for a discharge in the case.

He also says his client is not handling the conviction well.

“Horrible. He now has a criminal record for ten years,” Scott says. “You know when he entered into policing that’s not something he ever envisioned.”

Porto is also under investigation under the Police Services Act.

Scott says despite the conviction, Porto can continue his career as a police officer.

http://blackburnnews.com/windsor/windso ... him-crash/
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OPP constable sentenced to 12-month driving ban, fine

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:31 am

An Essex County OPP officer has been sentenced after he was found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Constable Jamie Porto has been sentenced to a 12 month driving ban, no probation and a $2,500 fine.

Justice Bruce Thomas announced his ruling in court on Wednesday morning.

On Oct. 24, 2014, Porto was involved in a collision involving his police cruiser and another vehicle at County Road 42 and County Road 3 in St. Joachim.

Porto was responding to a call of a woman in distress and court heard his vehicle was travelling at 178 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone when the crash occurred.

Porto broke his hand in the crash while the driver of the other vehicle sustained two cracked ribs and a concussion.

Justice Thomas was critical of the OPP for not having a written policy for how fast officers can respond to an accident.

But Sgt. Peter Leon tells CTV News the OPP has safeguards in place that utilize Global Positioning Systems to ensure that their officers are operating their vehicles at speeds which are safe for the area.

Crown attorney Peter Crutton declined to comment on the sentence.

Porto's defence lawyer Dan Scott suggests the sentence could have an impact on how fast police officers respond in emergencies.

In fact, since Porto's conviction in December, Scott says he has spoken with several officers who say they will not speed excessively to the scene of an emergency.

"Why would a police officer rush to any scene because if they're 30 kilometers over the speed limit, they meet the threshold for dangerous driving" says Scott.

The OPP has now launched an investigation into Porto's actions, under the Police Services Act. Scott expects his 34-year-old client could be charged with conduct unbecoming of an officer.

CTV News also asked Scott if he is considering an appeal of both the conviction and sentence.

Scott says that's a decision for the Ontario Provincial Police Association.

CTV News reached out to the Association and members of the OPPA board are now reviewing the judge's decision.

http://windsor.ctvnews.ca/opp-constable ... -1.3335742
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Judge bans cop from driving, has harsh words for OPP

Postby Thomas » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:34 am

A Windsor judge who banned Const. Jamie Porto from driving for a year had harsh words for the author of an internal police memo defending the action of the OPP officer criminally convicted of dangerous driving.

Rather than “getting behind officers” in such situations, said Superior Court Justice Bruce Thomas, citing the memo, the OPP “needs to get out in front with training and supervision.”

Thomas on Wednesday sentenced Porto, 34, to a 12-month driving prohibition and a $2,500 fine after he was found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm stemming from a high-speed crash in the Lakeshore village of St. Joachim in October 2014.

Thomas said he has “the greatest respect for police,” and that it was his hope that Porto continues in his role as an officer of the law protecting the community. But the absolute discharge that the defence was seeking, he said, would be “contrary to the public interest” and general deterrence.

Racing through a posted community safety zone at 178 km/h in the middle of a village in the middle of the day, even if it was with lights and sirens and in response to an emergency call, was a “marked departure” from what a “reasonable” police officer would do, the judge ruled.

“The police officer’s motive was the protection of public safety — but motive is not a defence,” said Thomas. Nevertheless, “this sentence I find to be particularly difficult,” he added.

Porto, accompanied by his wife, left the courthouse without comment. Defence lawyer Dan Scott told reporters his client felt “horrible” at the sentence, which means the officer will carry a criminal record for the next 10 years.

“I think it’s a message to all police officers everywhere,” said Scott, a former cop who said he knows of frontline police officers who are now “not rushing as they used to” on emergency calls.

Porto was racing to a call in an unmarked cruiser at three-and-a-half times the posted speed limit of 50 km/h near a school, a church and a rest home when he crashed into another car at the intersection of County Roads 42 and 31. That driver, Ryan Coombs, suffered a concussion and broken ribs, and Porto’s vehicle narrowly missed a young mother pushing a stroller before taking out a gas station pump and then hitting a house, destroying the front porch.

Thomas described as “miraculous” that the casualty toll wasn’t worse. Scott said the judge determined Porto’s speeding to the scene of an emergency “was for a good purpose, just a wrong decision.”

With the criminal case over, a spokesman for the Ontario Provincial Police said its professional standards bureau is now launching its own investigation. Acting-Staff Sgt. Peter Leon told the Star he could not comment on the specific Porto case, but Scott said he suspects his client is facing a “conduct unbecoming” charge from his employer.

A police source has already said that Porto’s sentence and his conviction in December following a trial will be appealed.

The judge said the OPP appears to have “no policy for this type of situation,” and that he had “considerable concern” with the defence’s argument that “this type of driving in these types of situations is not unusual.”

The OPP’s Leon told the Star that officers know the communities they patrol well and are “always reminded” to constantly assess the variables and factors involved when responding to emergency calls. “People expect the police to show up” when there’s an emergency, he added, but community safety is “very, very important” in such situations.

One recent change, said Leon, is that all OPP cruisers provincewide are now equipped with global positioning systems that “allows us to constantly monitor officers performing frontline duties.” Utilizing GPS, he said, “ensures officers operate at speeds that are safe for the areas they are travelling in.”

Leon said it would be up to the local detachment to decide what duties to now assign Porto. “We will work closely with our officer,” he said.

http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/ ... ds-for-opp
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Conviction upheld for OPP officer who crashed doing 178 km/h

Postby Thomas » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:45 pm

Conviction, sentence upheld for OPP officer who crashed doing 178 km/h

Const. Jamie Porto was given a 1-year driving ban and fined $2,500

A police officer who crashed after driving at 178 kilometres an hour in a 50 zone while responding to an emergency had his dangerous driving conviction and licence suspension upheld on Friday.

In its ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected a challenge from provincial police Const. Jamie Porto, who argued his trial judge had made several errors in finding him guilty.

"The appellant's excessive speed in and of itself amounted to a marked departure from the standard of care of a reasonable police officer," the Appeal Court said in its decision. "It was open to the trial judge to reach this conclusion."

According to court records, Porto was responding to an emergency call on an afternoon in October 2014 after a crash. Court records show he sped through the village of St. Joachim, east of Windsor, with its posted speed limit of 50 km/h at a speed of 178 km/h.

Porto passed a construction zone and a school before crashing into a vehicle going in the same direction that was making a left turn. The crash occurred as Porto tried to pass the vehicle driven by Ryan Coombes on the left, court records show.

Coombes was left with cracked ribs and a concussion, while a pedestrian and her daughters not far from Coombes' spinning vehicle were able to walk away unhurt. A gas station nearby was extensively damaged.

At trial, the officer admitted his speeding amounted to driving in a manner dangerous to the public and that his driving had resulted in bodily harm. The issue for the judge to decide was whether Porto's driving had shown a "marked departure" from what was reasonable in the circumstances.

In December 2016, Superior Court Justice Bruce Thomas convicted the 34-year-old officer of dangerous driving causing bodily harm to Coombes. He ordered Porto to pay a fine of $2,500 and barred him from driving for a year.

"I am reminded that this officer was responding to a potential life-threatening call," Thomas said in nevertheless finding Porto's driving was unreasonable. "(But) Const. Porto should have foreseen the danger posed by Mr. Coombes's vehicle."

Thomas concluded that the constable, a 10-year officer with two children, should have reduced his speed dramatically and stayed in his lane until he was sure of what move Coombes was planning. The failure to do so and the attempt to pass Coombes at the intersection in the middle of the village at high speed was not reasonable, the judge found.

Appellant had virtually no time to react

In upholding the conviction, the Appeal Court rejected Porto's argument that Thomas had put too much emphasis on speed.

"Given that the trial judge concluded that speed alone amounted to a marked departure, it is difficult to see how he could over-emphasize this factor," the Appeal Court said. "At 178 km/h, the appellant had virtually no time to react to emergencies or foreseeable conduct by other drivers."

The higher court also rejected arguments to substitute a discharge for the fine and driving ban based on fresh evidence — essentially that Porto is considered a "conscientious and able" officer respected by his superiors and peers.

"That same evidence was before the trial judge and it provides no basis upon which this court could interfere with the sentence he imposed," the Appeal Court said.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/c ... -1.4590433

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/sentence- ... -1.3856079

https://globalnews.ca/news/4102208/opp- ... ion-court/

http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/ca ... -a-50-zone
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