HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Police Officer Who Stole Crack Loses His Job
Pubdate: Tue, 05 Dec 2006
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Andrew Seymour, The Ottawa Citizen


Officer Admitted Taking Drugs From Suspects For His Own Use

An Ottawa police officer who admitted to stealing crack cocaine from
suspects and smoking it himself has been dismissed from the force.

Const. Kevin Hall's conduct fell "far short" of the "most minimal
standards" demanded by the public and his employer, Police Services
Act hearing officer Terence Kelly said yesterday while handing down
the sentence.

"Const. Hall repeatedly violated his sworn oath of office. Therefore,
I have no other ethical option, but to sentence him accordingly," said
Mr. Kelly.

Const. Hall, who told reporters he was surprised by the decision, now
has seven days to resign or he will be fired.

"These offences are very serious, but when committed by a member of
this police service, take on a more ominous note, especially the
purchase of drugs from the criminal element," said Mr. Kelly.

"Any involvement in criminal activity, on duty or off, violates the
public trust and undermines the respect the public has for law and
order, and those who are sworn to enforce it."

He also has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Ontario Civilian
Commission on Police Services.

However, it is expected Const. Hall will appeal the ruling within the
next week.

"Obviously, Kevin is very disappointed," said police association
executive officer Brenda Lawson following the sentence.

"Kevin will have the legal advice he should have and a decision will
be made using that legal advice," she said.

Should he appeal, Const. Hall will remain suspended and continue
collecting a paycheque. A first-class constable earns slightly more
than $71,000 a year.

Const. Hall's dismissal yesterday follows his guilty plea in May to
eight charges under the Police Services Act -- five counts of
discreditable conduct, two counts of corrupt practice and one of
neglect of duty.

In an agreed statement of facts, Const. Hall, 43, admitted to becoming
addicted to crack cocaine after trying the drug for the first time
after seizing it from a suspect on Nov. 9, 2004.

The west division neighbourhood officer also admitted to stealing
crack cocaine from an evidence envelope as well as drugs that were to
be destroyed.

He also bought the drug while on and off duty.

Const. Hall said he began using crack cocaine after developing an
elevated tolerance to marijuana, which could no longer help him cope
with the "emotional pain" he was experiencing as a result of marital
and family problems.

He has been suspended with pay since last December.

His lawyer, Steven Welchner, argued during the hearing that Const.
Hall's addiction was a disability and firing him would be

He asked instead that Const. Hall be demoted from a first-class to
fourth-class constable, the lowest rank, work inside the police
station without a firearm for at least a year and submit to drug tests.

But in handing down his sentence, Mr. Kelly said he would be "derelict
in his duties" to "condone or find some reparation for the gross
misconduct of Const. Hall.

"Const. Hall, clearly, was actively associating with the criminal
elements, participating in their illegal activities, all the while
knowing full well the consequences to his career as a police officer,"
said Mr. Kelly, a retired deputy chief from the York Regional police.

Mr. Kelly noted Const. Hall lied on his application to become a police
officer in 1999, claiming he had only smoked marijuana for two weeks
in 1980. In reality, the officer had been addicted to the drug for 18

Police, who had been seeking the officer's dismissal, said they accept
the hearing officer's decision and will act on it pending the outcome
of any appeal.

Deputy Chief Sue O'Sullivan said charges in one case had to be dropped
as a result of Const. Hall's actions. An audit by the provincial and
federal Crown prosecutor's office determined no other cases were
compromised, she said.

Deputy Chief O'Sullivan said police have since changed how they handle

"It is an unfortunate day when one of our officers has pleaded guilty
to charges of this nature that bring the reputation of the police
service into disrepute," she said. "It is clearly a troubling day for
the officer, however, the integrity of the police service is paramount."

Prosecutor Robert Houston said Const. Hall only had himself to blame
for his dismissal.

"If he had a disability, he had it at the time he came to the service
but lied about it," he said.

"Before he got into the cocaine, he should have come and asked for
help, but didn't."

Mr. Houston said Const. Hall disclosed his crack addiction and the
incidents that led to his dismissal during a police professional
standards investigation.

Under the Police Services Act, he is compelled to provide evidence
against himself, which prevented police from charging him criminally.
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