Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police Watchdog Launches Investigation into Leadership of Durham Regional Force

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police Watchdog Launches Investigation into Leadership of Durham Regional Force

Article excerpt

Durham Regional Police leadership under investigation

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A police watchdog has launched a full investigation into an Ontario force and its board after a preliminary probe found "potential" criminal activity and a "crisis in confidence" among its leadership.

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission has appointed an administrator to oversee the Durham Regional Police for the duration of its investigation, which will include looking at the chief and deputy chief.

The allegations against the force are contained in an order signed last Thursday by the commission's executive director, Linda Lamoureux.

"The commission's preliminary review has revealed a deep sense of mistrust in the judgment, integrity, and capacity of the service's leadership and the board's oversight abilities," Lamoureux wrote.

The preliminary findings allege the "senior administration allowed, tolerated, encouraged, participated in, and/or was wilfully blind to workplace harassment of all kinds, intimidation of subordinates, retaliatory discipline, and potential alleged criminal conduct and/or misconduct under the (Police Services Act)."

The order also said the commission has received "credible information" that suggests the force's leadership "might have covered up (and) attempted to cover-up" alleged misconduct towards subordinates and that "they may have interfered in previous external and internal investigations."

The commission outlined 15 areas it will investigate, including whether the board had "appropriate oversight" over the hiring and contract extensions of senior leadership; whether a senior officer provided false testimony to gain favour with the chief, and whether the chief and the chief administrative officer "improperly influenced and/or prevented investigations into alleged violations of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act."

"The allegations of misconduct have a tangible negative impact on policing and, consequently, the communities that the service and board serve," Lamoureux wrote. …

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