TPS member suspended after probe opened into information leak around possible threat
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:36PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 17, 2018 7:29PM EDT
A Toronto Police officer has been suspended with pay in connection with information that was “unofficially shared” last week as police dealt with a potential threat against the city.
“Last Thursday, we became aware of information that was unofficially shared by a member of the Service with our private sector partners,” Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said in a statement. “A Professional Standards investigation was started, a member was identified, and that member has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Gray also said that police have opened a separate professional standards investigation into the unauthorized release of a draft, unapproved operational plan to the media.
The information leaks came as police bolstered their presence in the downtown core in response to what officials described as “a potential risk to public safety.”
The draft, unapproved operational plan that is the subject of the second investigation was widely obtained by the media. It contained details that appeared to further describe the unsubstantiated threat as a potential ramming attack near the CN Tower.
However after that memo was made public, police said it was a draft operational plan that was never approved.
A further police bulletin obtained by CTV News Toronto Thursday afternoon clarified that police had received “unconfirmed and uncorroborated information of a threat to tourist attractions in the Greater Toronto Area, including the CN Tower.”
Late Thursday police said they had returned to normal operations.
Speaking with CP24 Tuesday, Gray said police are taking the leaks “very seriously.”
“Any time we have an incident where we have to balance the interest of letting the public know what’s going on along with protecting the integrity of our investigation, that’s something we’re always keenly aware of when we’re considering that release of information. It’s why we have a corporate communications unit at the Toronto Police Service that works very closely with our investigators,” Grey said.
“To have unofficial information be released – in the second particular case with the unapproved operational plan – that information was inaccurate and not up-to-date, it just counteracts what we’re trying to do with our transparency as well as with the ongoing investigation.”
She said the Professional Standards Unit is still trying to determine who allegedly leaked the draft plan.
Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack told CP24 Tuesday that his organization has been in touch with the officer suspended as part of the first investigation.
“We’re dealing with the officer and we’re dealing with the service right now,” McCormack said. “This is currently under investigation. As soon as the investigation is complete we’ll be able to comment more fully. Obviously this is a very serious matter when we have that type of information that is leaked and we’re dealing with the officer right now.”
McCormack said he wants to make sure that all the evidence is properly gathered before the officer is dealt with.