justice gavelSuspending Police Officers with pay has been a hot topic in Timmins over the last year or so.

While it is a provincial rule, the Timmins Police Services Board is looking at the issue and put forward a proposal to give Police Chief John Gauthier power to suspend officers without pay if they fall under certain conditions.

Board Chair Steve Black read out the proposal at Thursday’s meeting in police headquarters.

Chief Gauthier would get the power to reduce the pay by 25% every three months.  If the suspended officer is found not guilty of the offence, they would be reimbursed the lost wages.

If an officer is found guilty however, they would be terminated.

If passed, an officer that is “charged with a serious offence, contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada, the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act or any other act that is not related to the performance of the officer’s duties” would be suspended without pay.

As well, Black says this new rule would apply to officers held in custody or charged with an offence and is subject to a judicial internment release order “with such conditions that prevent the officer from carrying out duties of a police officer.”

With many officers getting charged in the region in the last number of years, legal fees have built up in the Police Services Act matters.

In 2012, they spent $24,000.  2013 saw an increase to $102,600 — with just under $20,000 spent on the OPP investigation of Chief Gauthier — and another increase last year to $183,500.

Black goes on to say this will be sent to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services,the Ontario Association Police Services Board, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Police Service Board of Ontario.

The Mayor adds the provisions in place are to protect police officers while they are “in good faith” in performance of their duties, and was never to act as a protection or to shield officers from the consequences of Police Services Act or serious criminal violations.

“Charges filed under the Police Services Act have taken an excessive amount of time to resolve, and at great financial impact to the Timmins Police Service,” Black added.

“Right now, the Police Chief can only suspend an officer without pay when they are convicted of an offence and sentenced to a prison term.”