Changes on the horizon for paid police suspension

Alycia Douglass

The issue of paid police suspension resurfaced at the Cornwall Community Police Board meeting this Wednesday, Apr. 5.

An issue now coming to a head with the proposed changes to the Police Services Act, which has remained unchanged for the past 27 years.

Sergeant Daniel Maillé, head of the Professional Standards Bureau says that currently, the province’s hands are tied when it comes to police misconduct and suspension without pay.

“The salary is legislated through the Police Services Act for anyone that is suspended – they are suspended with pay,” said Maillé. “There’s a movement to change that in the Police Services Act, but as it stands now, the legislation says that they have to be payed.”

Officers must first be found guilty and sentenced then advance to a period of incarceration, which essentially removes them from duties. This process can go on for years, and only after an officer is fired from their post are they cut off from payroll.

“The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police has taken a very strong position on the issue of the proposed amendments to the Police Services Act’s suspension without pay,” said Cornwall Chief of Police, Daniel Parkinson.

Having called upon the Ontario Government in 2014 with a proposed resolution which would allow Chiefs of Police/OPP Commissioners to suspend without pay in certain situations, Premier Kathleen Wynne recently promised a bill which would do just that this spring.

Parkinson says that the issue boils down to the basic right of being innocent until proven guilty.

“An officer on suspension is covered by a piece of legislation that says they are suspended with pay,” said Parkinson. “Take that out, and it’s a whole new ball game on the same level as other industries and public services.”

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