Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay police look at suspension without pay issue

The Ontario Association of Police Services Boards will discuss the idea of giving police chiefs the authority to suspend officers without pay at their annual general meeting this week.

Thunder Bay's Police Services Board received more information today regarding the Suspension Without Pay issue plaguing many police forces across Ontario.

A letter from the Hamilton Police Services Board suggests the Police Services Act of Ontario should be amended to give the chief of police the authority to suspend officers without pay.

The suspension would be allowed when serious criminal conduct, contrary to the Police Services Act, takes place. 

Thunder Bay Police Chief JP Levesque called the issue an "interesting situation."

Police Chief JP Levesque says dealing with the suspension without pay issue could help save money in police budgets. (Adam Burns/CBC)

He said it takes years for some officers to have hearings to determine if they should be suspended or not.

"We're seeing some situations in other services where people are suspended due to Police Services Act or criminal charges — four or five years in some cases — and it costs a lot of money."

Levesque said any suspension is a serious matter, although there is a different threshold to be met when it comes to constables versus officers with supervising duties.

The Ontario Association of Police Services Boards will discuss the matter at their annual general meeting this week.

The Thunder Bay Police Association said it is satisfied with the current system in place. The association said it has concerns about one person having all the power necessary to suspend officers.