Cornwall officer pleads guilty, demoted for discreditable conduct

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A detective with the Cornwall Police Service will be demoted for nine months after pleading guilty to a Police Services Act charge of discreditable conduct.

Detective Staff Sgt. Robert Archambault represented himself during a teleconference hearing this morning (Tuesday) before Adjudicator Morris Albers.

The PSA hearing follows Archambault’s guilty plea in criminal court in October on a charge of having more than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, known as an “over 80” charge

Archambault will be demoted from Detective Staff Sgt. to Detective Sgt. for nine months – a financial penalty of approximately $11,360.

The proceeding heard how another couple spotted Archambault’s black Ford F-150 cross the center line on Highway 138 a couple of times – nearly causing collisions with oncoming traffic – and hit the gravel shoulder while travelling south near St. Andrews West around 5 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2020.

Minutes later, the SD&G O.P.P. arrested Archambault as he was pouring out a can of beer at the side of the road in the Rosedale Terrace subdivision. Blood alcohol readings taken later at the Long Sault O.P.P. station were 188 and 177 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.

Prosecutor Jessica Barrow says Archambault “engaged in dangerous, reckless and discreditable conduct” but added that this was an “aberration” in an otherwise “stellar career in policing.”

Barrow described the actions as “a serious mistake.”

Archambault has been an officer with the Cornwall Police Service for nearly 19 years.

Barrow added that the officer is remorseful, immediately took responsibility for his actions and that he has “tremendous rehabilitative potential.”

Adjudicator Morris Albers asked Archambault if he would like to add anything.

“On August 8th, I made a dreadful decision that has severely impacted the police service, the community, my family and myself. I recognize and fully understand that my actions on this day could have resulted in severe consequences for those who are using the same roadway and I am extremely grateful that this is not the case,” Archambault said.

The officer added that it was an “extremely poor decision that I think about every day.”

“Today, I accept my penalty in relation to the Police Services Act, which will be demotion with a large financial penalty, continued embarrassment for myself and my family (and) a flawed employment record. However, I can assure you and the others on this call and the community that this will not occur again. I made a very bad decision that I will overcome and prove my worth again,” Archambault said.

“As an adjudicator doing this work for 18 years, it’s not very often that I am faced with a police officer that attends a first appearance and at that particular time, addresses his issue and wants to plea. It’s further impressive you’re doing this without counsel, you’re self-represented, and I think that goes towards…you’re remorse and your rehabilitative factor to the service,” Albers said.

Albers added that he found it impressive that Archambault immediately told his superiors about his actions on the day he was arrested. “I also think it’s impressive that you sent a message out to the service members of the Cornwall Police Service so they’re getting from it you first hand. That is a quality of a leader and someone that is remorseful.”

Albers says it’s not often that an adjudicator can indicate that a penalty will be a “blip in your service, in your career.”

Archambault has also sought counselling.