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Police Service Board meeting about police chief complaint postponed

By Mike Fleming [1] and Evan McClelland [2]

BELLEVILLE – The Police Service Board meeting originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept., 20, to review a complaint about Belleville Police Chief Ron Gignac was postponed until next week.

The initial complaint was made to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director by Belleville resident Darren Moore about a comment Gignac made during an interview with Intelligencer reporter Jason Miller.

The article [3] was first published by the Intelligencer on July 13, 2017, and Gignac was quoted as saying, “I’m more concerned about the safety of a life than I am a Charter violation.”

The comment made by Gignac came on the heels of a local judge deeming a strip search, conducted by the Quinte West detachment of the OPP, illegal.

Moore filed the complaint sometime between July 15-17, a few days after the article was published. He said he wanted to clarify that he only made the complaint so the situation would be reviewed.

“I’m not saying he definitely violated the act,” Moore said, referring to the Police Services Act, “but you could certainly see where it could be an issue with some of the provisions of the act itself.”

Moore says he believes the discussion about safety is being approached from the wrong angle.

“When proper arresting procedure isn’t followed, not only do we have rights violations but we also have charges stayed in cases where they shouldn’t be,” he said.

He also said as the conversation around human rights starts to happen on a larger scale, it’s important to address smaller local instances as they occur. He said the timeliness of the issue should also be discussed, citing the independent police review [4] on practices related to strip searches that were first announced on July 26, 2016.

The complaint has been forwarded to the Belleville Police Services Board, as is the standard procedure for an independent police review. When contacted, Gignac declined to comment stating the issue was before the board. The meeting is set to occur Thursday, Sept., 28, at 10 a.m.