Cornwall cop docked pay for calling in sick for vacation

CORNWALL – A city police officer has been docked 160 hours of pay for calling in sick to work while boarding a flight to Florida for vacation last year.

Police Superintendent Chris Renwick handed down the decision last week after Const. Daniel Merpaw pleaded guilty to one count of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.

An equivalent fine for the forfeiture of 20 eight-hour days (160 hours) is about $7,500.

Merpaw had called in sick for two 12-hour shifts in October 2018. He was actually calling from the Ottawa airport as he was boarding a flight to Florida for vacation, according to an agreed statement of facts.

The punishment was a joint position of the prosecution and defence, though Renwick had some “hesitation” accepting it and was “deeply concerned” given Merpaw’s criminal conviction in 2016 for obstructing police which led to a six-month demotion in 2017.

Merpaw – a general patrol officer – has been on the Cornwall force for 10 years.