Punishment upheld for Cornwall cop

In this October 2015, file photo, former Cornwall Community Police Service Const. Kevin Wells (center) during a police awards ceremony. The Ontario Civilian Police Commission has upheld a Police Services Act ruling from October 2020 ordering the dismissal of Wells after he was convicted of discreditable conduct, neglect of duty and deceit. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The Ontario Civilian Police Commission has upheld the decision to dismiss a Cornwall police officer convicted of deceit, neglect of duty and discreditable conduct.

Const. Kevin Wells was found guilty in March 2020 after a Police Services Act hearing on two counts of discreditable conduct, one count of neglect of duty and one count of deceit.

The tribunal heard that Wells went to work with an expired driver’s licence, struck a curb in a parking lot with his police cruiser while on-duty and then took that cruiser outside the city to have it looked over by an unauthorized mechanic. Wells also failed to be forthright about the the damage to his supervisor.

In October 2020, OPP Adjudicator Greg Walton ruled that Wells should resign or be fired by the force – the most severe penalty afforded to a Police Service Act hearing – because Wells’ actions undermined public trust.

But Wells’ lawyer appealed the decision to the OCPC, which held a hearing in May 2021. Greenspon argued the hearing officer made several errors in his decision.

But in the 23-page decision, released in late October 2021, the OCPC dismissed the appeal, ruling Adjudicator Walton has applied the right tests of the law and that it was a measured approach given all the facts and witness testimony.

“The common theme throughout the decision of the Hearing Officer is the need for police officers to have honesty, integrity and trustworthiness,” the decision reads in part.

“To conclude, we find that the Hearing Officer did not make such errors in principle that would justify our interfering with the penalty he (Greg Walton) imposed,” the OCPC panel wrote.

A check of the Cornwall Police Service staff directory confirms Wells is no longer employed with the CPS. His name shows up in previous versions but has been removed as of the CPS’ last update on November 24, 2021 – about a month after the OCPC decision.

Another case where Wells was facing 22 counts of discreditable conduct has been postponed indefinitely and will likely be closed given the police officer is no longer with the force.