Police investigate their own after Hess scuffle

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton Police are investigating two of their own after an alleged altercation between an on-duty and off-duty officer in Hess Village two weeks ago.

The incident happened shortly after police announced plans to bring horse-mounted officers to the Hess Village area, in addition to new surveillance cameras, to deal with their ongoing safety and security concerns in the busy bar district.

Earlier this year, Hamilton police went to city council to share concerns about Hess Village.

The incident also raises questions about oversight of police when they investigate themselves.

Division 1 Inspector Warren Korol confirmed last week he is case manager of a criminal investigation into the matter involving an on-duty and an off-duty officer that happened in the early morning of Sunday, Oct. 25 on George Street, east of Hess Street.

“We are in the early stages of the investigation,” Insp. Korol stated in an email. “There is nothing more to add at this time.”

Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit investigates incidents involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury or death, or allegations of sexual assault. The incident in Hess Village between two Hamilton Police Services members apparently does not fall within that mandate.

Paul Cormier, executive officer of the SIU, said he spoke to Hamilton Police Deputy Chief Ken Leendertse about the Hess Village incident and as a result of that conversation, determined the SIU will not investigate.

The incident also apparently doesn’t fall under the mandate of the new Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which opened on Oct. 19.

The OIPRD receives and processes public complaints about police and decides whether to refer complaints back to the responsible chief of police for investigation, or the related police services board.

But the new office operates on a confidential basis and does not release information about complaints to the public. A spokesperson would only say 20 public complaints had been received, but would not comment on where they were referred or if any involve the Hamilton Police Service.

Each police service sets up its own internal discipline process. Discipline decisions can be appealed to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission. The commission does not investigate complaints or criminal allegations against police. Instead, it hears appeals from disciplined police officers and apparently has some authority to review police services boards and police chiefs.

But Cathy Boxer, a senior advisor at the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, said it would be inappropriate for the OCPC to comment on any specific case which could potentially find its way before the commission in the future.

In February, Hamilton Police Inspector Bill Stewart and Staff Sergeant Mark Cox appeared before Hamilton city councillors to ask for help dealing with increasing violence in the Hess Village bar district.

They reported crowds swelling to 4,500 people –many of whom are impaired –in a small area. According to police, some officers had reported being attacked while trying to restore order in unruly crowds.

In July, the police services board approved spending $50,000 on four wireless surveillance cameras for Hess Village.

At the time, Deputy Chief Leendertse said the new cameras would help police better deploy 10 special duty police officers assigned to Hess Village during peak hours, and should help deter rowdy behaviour.

“We’ve proven it that it has a calming effect. We saw that in the downtown core. People know that they’re on video and they don’t act stupid, we hope,” Deputy Chief Leendertse said at the time.

Police investigate their own after Hess scuffle

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton Police are investigating two of their own after an alleged altercation between an on-duty and off-duty officer in Hess Village two weeks ago.

The incident happened shortly after police announced plans to bring horse-mounted officers to the Hess Village area, in addition to new surveillance cameras, to deal with their ongoing safety and security concerns in the busy bar district.

Earlier this year, Hamilton police went to city council to share concerns about Hess Village.

The incident also raises questions about oversight of police when they investigate themselves.

Division 1 Inspector Warren Korol confirmed last week he is case manager of a criminal investigation into the matter involving an on-duty and an off-duty officer that happened in the early morning of Sunday, Oct. 25 on George Street, east of Hess Street.

“We are in the early stages of the investigation,” Insp. Korol stated in an email. “There is nothing more to add at this time.”

Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit investigates incidents involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury or death, or allegations of sexual assault. The incident in Hess Village between two Hamilton Police Services members apparently does not fall within that mandate.

Paul Cormier, executive officer of the SIU, said he spoke to Hamilton Police Deputy Chief Ken Leendertse about the Hess Village incident and as a result of that conversation, determined the SIU will not investigate.

The incident also apparently doesn’t fall under the mandate of the new Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which opened on Oct. 19.

The OIPRD receives and processes public complaints about police and decides whether to refer complaints back to the responsible chief of police for investigation, or the related police services board.

But the new office operates on a confidential basis and does not release information about complaints to the public. A spokesperson would only say 20 public complaints had been received, but would not comment on where they were referred or if any involve the Hamilton Police Service.

Each police service sets up its own internal discipline process. Discipline decisions can be appealed to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission. The commission does not investigate complaints or criminal allegations against police. Instead, it hears appeals from disciplined police officers and apparently has some authority to review police services boards and police chiefs.

But Cathy Boxer, a senior advisor at the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, said it would be inappropriate for the OCPC to comment on any specific case which could potentially find its way before the commission in the future.

In February, Hamilton Police Inspector Bill Stewart and Staff Sergeant Mark Cox appeared before Hamilton city councillors to ask for help dealing with increasing violence in the Hess Village bar district.

They reported crowds swelling to 4,500 people –many of whom are impaired –in a small area. According to police, some officers had reported being attacked while trying to restore order in unruly crowds.

In July, the police services board approved spending $50,000 on four wireless surveillance cameras for Hess Village.

At the time, Deputy Chief Leendertse said the new cameras would help police better deploy 10 special duty police officers assigned to Hess Village during peak hours, and should help deter rowdy behaviour.

“We’ve proven it that it has a calming effect. We saw that in the downtown core. People know that they’re on video and they don’t act stupid, we hope,” Deputy Chief Leendertse said at the time.

Police investigate their own after Hess scuffle

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton Police are investigating two of their own after an alleged altercation between an on-duty and off-duty officer in Hess Village two weeks ago.

The incident happened shortly after police announced plans to bring horse-mounted officers to the Hess Village area, in addition to new surveillance cameras, to deal with their ongoing safety and security concerns in the busy bar district.

Earlier this year, Hamilton police went to city council to share concerns about Hess Village.

The incident also raises questions about oversight of police when they investigate themselves.

Division 1 Inspector Warren Korol confirmed last week he is case manager of a criminal investigation into the matter involving an on-duty and an off-duty officer that happened in the early morning of Sunday, Oct. 25 on George Street, east of Hess Street.

“We are in the early stages of the investigation,” Insp. Korol stated in an email. “There is nothing more to add at this time.”

Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit investigates incidents involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury or death, or allegations of sexual assault. The incident in Hess Village between two Hamilton Police Services members apparently does not fall within that mandate.

Paul Cormier, executive officer of the SIU, said he spoke to Hamilton Police Deputy Chief Ken Leendertse about the Hess Village incident and as a result of that conversation, determined the SIU will not investigate.

The incident also apparently doesn’t fall under the mandate of the new Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which opened on Oct. 19.

The OIPRD receives and processes public complaints about police and decides whether to refer complaints back to the responsible chief of police for investigation, or the related police services board.

But the new office operates on a confidential basis and does not release information about complaints to the public. A spokesperson would only say 20 public complaints had been received, but would not comment on where they were referred or if any involve the Hamilton Police Service.

Each police service sets up its own internal discipline process. Discipline decisions can be appealed to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission. The commission does not investigate complaints or criminal allegations against police. Instead, it hears appeals from disciplined police officers and apparently has some authority to review police services boards and police chiefs.

But Cathy Boxer, a senior advisor at the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, said it would be inappropriate for the OCPC to comment on any specific case which could potentially find its way before the commission in the future.

In February, Hamilton Police Inspector Bill Stewart and Staff Sergeant Mark Cox appeared before Hamilton city councillors to ask for help dealing with increasing violence in the Hess Village bar district.

They reported crowds swelling to 4,500 people –many of whom are impaired –in a small area. According to police, some officers had reported being attacked while trying to restore order in unruly crowds.

In July, the police services board approved spending $50,000 on four wireless surveillance cameras for Hess Village.

At the time, Deputy Chief Leendertse said the new cameras would help police better deploy 10 special duty police officers assigned to Hess Village during peak hours, and should help deter rowdy behaviour.

“We’ve proven it that it has a calming effect. We saw that in the downtown core. People know that they’re on video and they don’t act stupid, we hope,” Deputy Chief Leendertse said at the time.