Friday August 28, 1992

Christie Blatchford

p. News 5.

Junger panel lays it on the line

"No secret deals, no sweetheart deals, everyone is equal." -- Frank D'Andrea, chair of the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services

Frank D'Andrea is a spare and scrupulous man and so is the report, released yesterday, on what has come to be called the Gord Junger inquiry.

D'Andrea is one of the report's authors -- Jean Beauprie and Julio Menezes are the others -- and what they have produced is a document that is at once utterly devastating and a wellspring of hope.

These three were asked to look at the way the Metro Police force handles allegations of wrongdoing against its members, and, specifically, how it dealt with the cases of two officers -- former Const. Junger, who was running an escort service with a prostitute named Franklina Langford when he was nabbed in a "sting" operation, and Const. (formerly Sgt.) Brian Whitehead, who was demoted for his conduct with prostitute Jane Doe.

Their conclusions are damning -- about the force (for secrecy, defensiveness); about the internal affairs unit (for remarkable smugness); about the then-police-board (described as having "boxed itself into a Catch-22" where it didn't ask the chief about Junger because it assumed he wouldn't tell and where the chief didn't tell the board because it didn't ask) ; about senior management, particularly for the way they treated Jane Doe and who were operating "from a quite remarkable fog if ignorance," and sadly, about Metro Chief Bill McCormack.

The inquiry was concerned with policy and procedure, not with the character or competence of individuals, and D'Andrea was careful to avoid pointing fingers (to the extent when he was asked if the chief should resign, he said, "I don't think anything of that nature is necessary at all").

But, and much of this is implicit, it is McCormack who emerges most damaged by the report. The explicit references alone are stunning enough.

On Page 8: "If the chief... had responded vigorously and openly when he discovered the full details of the Junger resignation agreement, instead of keeping them confidential, the reaction to this whole matter would have been different."

On Page 28: "...he was sufficiently worried about public criticism ... he thought it best to keep the agreement confidential. The chief ... should have been fully informed -- and should have repudiated (the agreement)."

On Page 60: "It is almost unbelievable that -- having failed to notify Jane Doe of the disciplinary hearing, having reneged on a commitment to keep her name confidential and having unauthorized changes to her statement at the hearing -- the force would call a news conference in which the chief blamed Jane Doe for not showing up at the hearing and protecting her own interests."

There is no question McCormack, the internal affairs unit, indeed the force, wanted to rid themselves of a bad officer. But the was they chose was all wrong. It involved dealmaking and deceit. Junger, who was never entitled to preferential treatment, got it; Jane Doe, who surely deserved at least fairness and respect, had her rights stomped on. Where is the justice in that?

Writing this report brought D'Andrea "a great deal of sadness," as reading it should bring all of us. As D'Andrea said, "Put yourself in the shoes of the police officer who turns in his dangerous shift every day with integrity, with scruples, and who hears about the type of deal that was made with Gordon Junger... he cannot feel very good about the sorts of risks he takes on a regular basis when someone the likes of Junger is getting that kind of treatment."

Metro's police officers may quite properly feel regret and dismay about the conclusions of this report, particularly for the way in which their chief, for whom they have much affection and respect, emerges a diminished figure.

That said, this document is, in the very best sense of the word, pro-police, because it is pro the things that motivates good cops -- in a nutshell, no secret deals, no sweetheart deals, everyone is equal.

D'Andrea said yesterday, of the civilians like him who oversee police forces, "They are not meddlers and ought not to be seen as meddlers." If only they were all of the same fine stuff -- had the integrity, the understatement, the fondness for truth -- as Frank D'Andrea.

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Created: December 12, 1998
Last modified: December 12, 1998

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