Pubdate: Sat, 06 Jun 2015
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Susan Clairmont
Page: A4


Hamilton's Own Chief of Police Championing Change So Suspended Cops 
Don't Get Paid

There is a Hamilton cop sitting in a jail cell right now earning up 
to $100,000 a year.

He's facing drug and organized crime charges after being swept up in 
a massive police project aimed at cracking a violent criminal 
network. He is already suspended from duty, has been arrested before 
and is facing 26 disciplinary charges.

Yet we are still signing Det. Const. Craig Ruthowsky's hefty paycheque.

If that's not a reason to change Ontario's suspended with pay 
legislation, I don't know what is. And ironically it is Hamilton's 
own chief of police who is championing that change.

Ontario's suspended police officers must be paid, according to law. 
In some cases - including a few in Hamilton - cops can rake in six 
figure salaries for years while not working a day and awaiting 
criminal trials or Police Service Act hearings.

Ruthowsky was arrested at his Hamilton home at 5 a.m. Thursday when 
Toronto Police executed more than 40 search warrants across the GTA 
as part of Project Pharaoh.

He is charged with breach of trust, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, 
participating in activities of a criminal organization and commission 
of an indictable offence for a criminal organization.

He will appear in a Toronto courtroom Monday.

There was a time when Ruthowsky, 41, seemed worth every penny.

As a constable, he once chased down a suspected parole violator who 
forced his way into two homes. Another time, he ran full tilt on the 
rail trail to catch a guy who bailed out of a stolen car.

In 2009, he was in the guns and gangs unit, taking down dealers with 
stashes of cocaine, weed and everything in between. One of his busts 
netted $40,000 worth of designer drugs. He seized rifles, shotguns, 
handguns and hollow-point bullets.

By 2012, Ruthowsky was earning $109,000 a year and had a reputation 
for having stellar sources on the street. That summer though, his 
relationship with sources would become the subject of a criminal 
investigation by his own service. He was suspended with pay that June 
and hasn't worked a day since.

In November that year, he was arrested for breach of trust (allegedly 
disclosing confidential licence plate information from the Canadian 
Police Information Centre system to an unauthorized person) and 
obstructing justice (allegedly lying on a search warrant about a 
phone number for a person on a recognizance).

In the wake of that, the federal Crown attorney dropped charges in 
roughly 50 cases Ruthowsky and a co-accused Hamilton officer were 
involved in. They could hardly be called as reliable witnesses with 
their own criminal charges outstanding.

Three months later, the disciplinary charges were laid. Ruthowsky is 
alleged to have: entered and searched a home without legal authority; 
lied to a court official; failed to account for money or other 
property obtained in several criminal investigations; disclosed 
confidential CPIC information to an unauthorized person; failed to 
investigate a drug case; failed to maintain confidential information, 
failed to take notes and submit reports; consumed alcohol and engaged 
in inappropriate personal activities on police premises; engaged in 
unprofessional communication on a police phone; failed to report 
damage to a police vehicle and lying about it.

He is also accused of dealing with a police source and conducting 
police work while on suspension.

More than two years later, Ruthowsky has still not had a disciplinary 
hearing. A hearing that could result in the loss of his job.

His criminal charges, however, have disappeared. In October 2013, the 
Crown stayed the case against him, saying a trial could reveal the 
identity of confidential police informants and compromise their safety.

While Ruthowsky hasn't made the Sunshine List of Ontario's 
$100,000-plus earners since 2012, he has cashed in nearly that much 
in each of the three years since then. All his to keep - along with 
raises, benefits, vacation and sick time - no matter what the outcome 
of his criminal and disciplinary charges.

It was a year ago that Chief Glenn De Caire first proposed 
legislative amendments regarding suspension with pay, offering his 
own white paper to the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.

It was almost as though he had cops like Ruthowsky in mind.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom