Ottawa

Give police bodies power to suspend officers without pay, mayor urges

Mayor Jim Watson is calling for police chiefs and oversight bodies to be given the authority to suspend the pay of officers who've been charged or convicted of serious crimes.

Motion would call on province to introduce changes

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is calling on the province to both give police chiefs and service boards more power to both suspend without pay officers facing serious charges, and also streamline the firing process. (CBC)

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  • Council approved the motion at its meeting Oct. 14, 2020.

Mayor Jim Watson is calling for police forces and their oversight bodies to be given the power to suspend the pay of officers who've been charged or convicted of serious crimes.

On Wednesday, Watson gave notice he would be putting forward a motion at next month's council meeting to formally request the Ontario government give police chiefs or police service boards that ability.

The mayor's stance — seconded by Coun. Diane Deans, chair of the Ottawa police services board — echoes similar resolutions passed by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, which has urged the Ontario government to change the Police Services Act to allow for such suspensions.

The fact that officers facing serious criminal charges can still receive their full salary can "diminish public respect for, and confidence in, the integrity of police services," Watson's notice argues.

Ontario's previous Liberal government introduced legislation in 2017 that gave chiefs of police the power to suspend officers without pay in certain circumstances — a provision that was carried over by the Progressive Conservatives when they came to power the following year.

Even so, that provision has "never been proclaimed in force," according to the notice of motion.

Watson's preliminary motion also calls on the province to streamline the firing process for an officer found guilty of "serious or criminal misconduct."

Ottawa city council next meets Oct. 14.

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