Chief, deputy not suspended during probe 0
File photo of Pembroke Police Chief Dave Hawkins
The chief and deputy chief of the Pembroke Police Service won't be suspended as the RCMP continues a criminal investigation on them.
It's not known how long the pair – Chief Dave Hawkins and Deputy John Mellon – have been the subject of a probe by the Ottawa-based RCMP 'A' Division Commercial Crime Section.
The investigation was launched by the OPP, which handed the file over to the RCMP. The OPP is set to take over policing next year from the century-old municipal service.
Pembroke Police Services Board chairman Mike LeMay issued a statement Tuesday.
"The Pembroke Police Service Board has full confidence in the Chief and Deputy Chief of our service," reads the statement. "The day to day operation of our Service continues as normal. All members of our service provide effective policing in a professional manner to our community and this will not change."
Tom Bell, a legal advisor with the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) – the body which provides oversight to police services boards in this province – said he was unfamiliar with the investigation in Pembroke.
He said there is no standard practice which would see chiefs and deputy chiefs suspended with pay while they are part of a criminal investigation. Such decisions are left up to individual police services boards, like the one in Pembroke.
"I suspect the board would be in the best position to answer that," he said. "They are the employer of the chief."
He said the OCPC could investigate the matter and/or provide guidance to the Pembroke Police Services Board if they are asked to – and anyone can make that request.
It wouldn't be the first time Pembroke Police has been the target of a review.
Five years ago Ottawa Police's Professional Standards Section was asked to do a Process Review after a workplace harassment claim.
Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau confirmed the process review was completed in 2007 and submitted to the Pembroke Police Services Board.
The report has never been made public, according to a Pembroke Police Association source who said an expensive Freedom of Information request for the document was denied.
Asked about the nature of the investigation into Hawkins and Mellon, LeMay said he had "no comment."
Ian Johnstone, the lawyer representing both the chief and deputy, said he was unaware of the nature of the accusation against his clients, who have deferred all media inquires to him.
Pembroke Mayor Ed Jacyno expressed frustration at the RCMP investigation and the Sun story which revealed the investigation.
"It's painted them as guilty," he said. "I'm angry with (the RCMP)."
The RCMP won't comment on the ongoing investigation.