Province appoints administrator to oversee Durham police in wake of corruption allegations
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Friday, May 24, 2019 6:39PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 24, 2019 10:27PM EDT
The province says an administrator has been appointed to oversee the Durham Regional Police Service amid an investigation into allegations of corruption and misconduct involving Police Chief Paul Martin and senior members of the force.
The Ontario Civilian Police Commission, one of Ontario’s three civilian police oversight agencies, has now launched a full investigation into the allegations.
Sources tell CTV News Toronto that retired Toronto Police Deputy Chief Mike Federico will act as the administrator of the police service in the interim.
In a statement released Friday night, Marion Isabeau Ringuette, the solicitor general’s press secretary, confirmed that an administrator has been appointed but noted that “no one has been relieved of their duties.”
“Concerns were brought to the attention of the solicitor general regarding the Durham Regional Police Service and Durham Regional Police Services Board. As a result, the solicitor general requested that the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) investigate these allegations,” the statement read.
“We have confidence in the OCPC to take the appropriate steps to investigate the allegations that have been brought forward. The people of Durham can be assured that the OCPC investigation does not impact frontline policing services. The men and women on the frontlines of the Durham Police Service will continue to ensure community safety.”
Peter Brauti, the lawyer representing a number of officers who came forward with allegations, told CP24 that he was asked not to get into the specifics but said the complaints are “extremely serious.”
“It is not just police officers but also some civilian members of the police service (that have) come forward with serious allegations of corruption, criminality, all kinds of different aspects of misconduct,” Brauti said.
“These aren’t just regular officers. Some of them are police sergeants, inspectors, superintendents. So quite high-ranking people.”
Brauti said the province’s decision to appoint an administrator during the investigation is “unprecedented.”
“That has never happened before in the history of the province of Ontario,” he said.
“When you get appointed as an administrator you are given part of the responsibilities of the chief so in essence the chief has been stripped of some of his responsibilities. It hasn’t been shared to me which responsibilities he has been stripped of but it is obviously again very serious.”
He said the officers he represents “couldn’t be happier” that Federico will be overseeing the police service.
“Mike Federico has got 45 years of policing experience with the Toronto Police Service. He is known to be one of the most ethical and professional police officers out there,” Brauti added.
He said he has been told that due to the scope of the investigation, it could take up to a year to complete.
“It is so broad because it is not just one allegation, it is a series of different allegations that are totally unrelated,” Brauti said. “They plan on starting the investigation by interviewing witnesses starting right away next week.”
None of the allegations have been proven and in comments previously made to The Toronto Star, Martin’s lawyer, Sean Dewart, called the complaints “false and defamatory.”
He told The Star that a “handful of disgruntled individuals within (or formerly within) the DRPS have been proffering baseless allegations to try to destroy the reputations of members of the force’s management and command.”