What are the penalties for police misconduct?
- Kate Mitchell
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Before a police officer can be sanctioned for misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance under Ontario’s Police Services Act, a hearing must be held. The complaint must be proven “on clear and convincing evidence”.
If the complaint is substantiated, then a wide range of sanctions can be imposed on police officers, chiefs of police, and deputy chiefs of police, including:
- Dismissal (with or without an opportunity to resign first)
- Suspension without pay for up to 30 days or 240 hours, as the case may be
- Forfeiture of up to 3 days or 24 hours of pay, as the case may be
- Forfeiture of up to 20 days or 160 hours off, as the case may be
- A combination of suspension without pay, forfeiture of pay, and/or forfeiture of time off
However, dismissal or demotion can only be ordered if notice has been given that such penalties might be imposed if the complaint is substantiated.
Additionally, an officer, chief of police, or deputy chief may receive a reprimand, be directed to undergo counseling/treatment/training, and/or participate in a specific activity or program. An entry may also be made on the individual’s employment record.
Individuals who are dismissed or resign before they are dismissed cannot be employed by a police force for 5 years.