Cornwall police officer appeals order to resign: Greenspon

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)

CORNWALL – The lawyer for a Cornwall police officer ordered to resign or be fired by today (Oct. 14) says his client is appealing his conviction.

In his Wednesday, Oct. 7 decision following a Police Services Act hearing, O.P.P. Adjudicator Greg Walton ruled that Const. Kevin Wells should resign within a week or be fired by the force after he was found guilty of four counts of misconduct. He had crashed a police cruiser into a curb while on duty, driving with an expired driver’s licence. He then attempted to cover it up.

Speaking with Cornwall Newswatch late Tuesday, Lawrence Greenspon says the appeal was filed with the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC), which essentially stops the clock on the sanction.

“We are extremely disappointed with the decision to terminate him in the face of the strong character evidence that was called and the positive performance evaluations that were filed. We will be appealing both the decision and the penalty,” Greenspon said.

In his decision, Walton had said the glowing performance reviews “illustrate the potential Cst. Wells had early in his career” but that “the issue here of course, is, whether he now has a character flaw so significant that nullifies his usefulness to the Cornwall Police Service.”

Walton wrote that he was “significantly impacted” by the reviews and character references.

“Unfortunately, the principle, “the best predictor of future behaviour, is past behaviour” also applies to Cst. Wells’ inability to be honest and forthright. The question is not whether Cst. Wells will work hard if given the opportunity, it is whether he can be trusted to act with honesty and integrity; can he be trusted by his peers, his employer and by the public?” Walton wrote.

“I find Cst. Wells’ repeated lack of honesty and integrity outweighs his work ethic and dedication,” considering that Wells was found guilty of 11 counts of misconduct in four years, he wrote.

As for how long it will take OCPC to address the appeal, Greenspon says in his experience it’s “usually months not years.”

During submissions, Greenspon had sought a two week demotion or a loss of 80 hours.

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