Police complaints are being better screened, Cornwall chief says

Cornwall Police Chief Danny Aikman (right) speaks during a police board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. The chief says the provincial firm that handles public complaints is doing a better job of screening, leading to less work for the force. Also shown is Deputy Chief Shawna Spowart (left). (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Cornwall’s chief of police believes the Ontario police complaint oversight body is doing a better job of handling public complaints, leading to less workload for the local department.

There have been a dozen (12) complaints related to public conduct of officers as of the end of September.

For the entire year in 2018, there were 14.

Most of the complaints are about discreditable conduct – in other words, the actions between a unformed officer and a member of the public.

Nine of those complaints were screened out by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD).

Chief Danny Aikman noted that the OIPRD only screened out five of the 14 complaints last year.

“I think they are front-ending their screening processes a little bit more which reduces the impact of Staff Sgt. Dan Maille’s work,” Aikman told the police board Thursday. “He does these investigations so he’s always happy when OIPRD screens one out and says it’s not in the public interest to continue a particular investigation.”

Maille is the head of the professional standards section.

As for the balance of the 12 complaints, one was unsubstantiated, one was withdrawn, two had an informal resolution and one is subject to a disciplinary hearing.

There have been no cases involving the Special Investigations Unit so far this year compared to three in 2018. “We hope to see that number continue at zero,” Aikman said.