Monday, July 13,1998

John Duncanson

p. B1.

Plan would cull bad cops

Study urges cutting deals with officers

Cutting a deal to get rid of a bad cop is necessary and should be adopted as policy by the Toronto force, a consultant's report says. But any deal made by the police chief or his staff should be approved by the police services board, the report by the law firm of Torkin, Manes, Cohen and Arbus states.

The report was requested by the police board following a controversy that erupted last year over a deal involving an internal investigation into the death of a police officer. In that case, two officers who had been drinking with constable Jennifer Barbetta prior to her death in a 1993 car crash were told they could keep their jobs if they told the truth about drinking on duty.

Lawyer Ron Manes recommended at the time that no action be taken against Chief David Boothby, who as deputy chief had instructed a subordinate to tell Constables David Moore and Gregg Upshaw they would not be fired if they told the truth.

Upshaw resigned from the force in 1994 and Moore lost six month' rank in an internal discipline hearing.

The issue of deal-making has been debated for years, following several high-profile cases where Toronto officers avoided prosecution by either quitting or providing investigators with information.

In the best known case, Constable Gordon Junger was allowed to quit in the midst of an internal affairs probe into his alleged involvement in an escort service. The case sparked a public inquiry and led to much hand-wringing over the merits of deal-making.

But the consultant's report concludes that making such deals is necessary because "the search for the truth and the necessity of revealing discreditable conduct by an officer is of paramount importance."

"Failure to root out 'bad apples' from the police service will have an impact not only on individual complainants and the reputation of the service's ability to safeguard society from the criminal element."

The report is to be presented at the police board's monthly meeting Thursday. Although the consultants are recommending the police chief be allowed to cut deals again, they have suggested there be strict guidelines.

They include:

  • The board should approve all resignations or dismissals arising out of a deal or plea bargain.

  • That deal-making not be done in secret.

  • The senior officer who makes a deal should be held accountable for it.

  • Sentencing deals should be allowed as part of plea bargains with officers.

Toronto Police clippings... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: February 14, 1999
Last modified: February 14, 1999

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