Cornwall police officer ordered to resign or be fired as punishment

Cornwall Police Service Const. Kevin Wells, seen here in a 2015 police awards ceremony, has been ordered to resign from the force after damaging a police cruiser while driving with an expired licence and then attempting to cover it up, an adjudicator ruled Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

Update Oct. 14: Cornwall police officer appeals order to resign. Click here for details.

CORNWALL – A Cornwall police officer has “nullified his usefulness” with the Cornwall Police Service and has been ordered to resign or be dismissed this week.

The punishment for Const. Kevin Wells came in a written decision Wednesday (Oct. 7) by Ontario Provincial Police Adjudicator Greg Walton.

Wells was found guilty March 3 on four counts of misconduct: two counts of discreditable conduct, one count of neglect of duty and one count of deceit.

The Police Services Act hearing heard how Wells had crashed a police cruiser into a curb while on duty and broke the car’s plastic shroud. He had started his shift with an expired driver’s licence. After the crash, instead of notifying his supervisor, he took the cruiser “out of his policing jurisdiction” and had an “unapproved mechanic” look at the damage without authorization.

As far as deceit, the hearing found that Wells had provided “misleading or inaccurate statements” to his supervisor and the police mechanic about the extent of the damage “in an attempt to conceal that his driver’s licence was expired.” This happened after Wells learned the extent of the damage from the unauthorized mechanic.

The representative for the Cornwall Police Service, Lynda Bordeleau, had sought dismissal while Wells’ lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, had been asking for a two week demotion or a loss of 80 hours.

Adjudicator Greg Walton agreed with the prosecution this undermined public trust.

“Cst. Wells breached internal policy and disrespected his employer when he was less than truthful. I consider his behaviour offensive to the public, he put himself above the law and decided it was appropriate to drive a police cruiser, on-duty, with an expired driver’s licence; it is an abuse of his position as a police officer. This is the antithesis of what is expected of members of the Cornwall Police Service,” Walton wrote.

Wells started in the CPS as a special constable in 2002 and then was a fourth-class constable with 2007. He worked his way up through the ranks and his work received accolades from then-chief Dan Parkinson, calling Wells an “exceptional employee” with “his contribution to teamwork within his shift is outstanding.”

But the officer ran into trouble in 2016 where he was convicted on multiple counts of misconduct and demoted three levels from first-class constable to four-class constable – the most serious sanction next to dismissal. The demotion was related to a case, the details of which have been heavily redacted due to its nature. But some details were available and included searches of the police records system for purposes other than official police business.

Walton felt that dismissal wasn’t warranted on the misconduct alone but that Wells “has demonstrated he cannot be rehabilitated” based on this happening after his 2016 sanction.

“I gave long and serious consideration to demoting Cst. Wells once again to fourth-class constable but clearly, that did not act as a satisfactory deterrent before, and I am not satisfied he can be trusted to do the right thing in the future,” Walton wrote.

Wells is to be dismissed in seven days from the date of the decision, which would be Wednesday, Oct. 14, unless Wells resigns before then.