CPS officer has one week to resign or be fired

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By Nick Seebruch
CPS officer has one week to resign or be fired
Cornwall Police Service 2019 crest (Shawna O'Neill/Seaway News photo).

CORRECTION: This article previously stated that Cst. Wells was found guilty of two counts of Neglect of Duty, when he was only found guilty of one count of Neglect of Duty. Seaway News regrets the error.

CORNWALL, Ontario – A Cornwall Police Service (CPS) hearing has sentenced Cst. Kevin Wells, who was found guilty in March of two counts of Discreditable Conduct, one counts of Neglect of Duty, and one count of Deceit by a disciplinary hearing.

Cst. Wells damaged a CPS cruiser in a single-vehicle collision while driving without a license and proceeded to hide the nature of the collision from CPS to conceal that fact that he did not have a valid drivers license.

Wells did not document the accident in his notebook and he did not immediately inform his supervisor as required.

“Cst. Wells was intent on suppressing the extent of the damage sustained to Cornwall Police Service marked cruiser #4 in an attempt to conceal that his driver’s license was expired,” the ruling from the disciplinary hearing reads.

Counsel for the prosecution Lynda Bordeleau argued that Wells should be dismissed from the CPS, while Wells’ defence counsel, Lawrence Greenspon wanted to see him suspended without pay for 80 work hours or demoted.

Ret. Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Superintendent Greg Walton who presided over the sentencing hearing sided with the prosecution.

“I find Cst. Wells has nullified his usefulness to the Cornwall Police Service,” Walton wrote in his decision. “Cst. Wells shall resign within seven days or face dismissal from the Cornwall Police Service.”

Walton handed down his decision on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

“Cst. Wells purposely went to work knowing he had an expired driver’s license. He did not attempt to renew it before commencing his shift, nor did he notify his employer,” Walton wrote in his reasoning. “Cst. Wells misrepresented the facts by providing misleading or inaccurate statements to his supervisor, Sgt. MacLean, and the civilian employee Mr. Pettinella (city mechanic).”

“It is without question that Cst. Wells failed to be honest and forthright when conversing with Sgt. MacLean about the damage, or that he lacked integrity during the course of events,” Walton went on to write.

Several of Cst. Wells’ performance reviews were submitted by his defense counsel Lawrence Greenspon.

“Cst. Wells is well liked by his peers and his supervisors,” reads an excerpt from his 2017-2018 performance review. “Cst. Wells has always policed at a high level . . . He is consistently the highest producing constable for charges for I Team and one of the top in the police service.”

Walton noted that a high number of active CPS officers wrote character witness statements for Wells. He estimated that nearly 10 per cent of the total number of active officers wrote statements on his behalf.

Wells is facing a further 22 counts of Discreditable Conduct on a matter unrelated to this one, with another disciplinary hearing scheduled for Dec. 7, 2020.

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