The stunt driving charge against Windsor’s acting deputy police chief raises many questions
Seven weeks after the incident, the Windsor Police Service announced that its acting deputy chief of police would be charged with stunt driving.
An unusual press release on Saturday said acting Deputy Chief of Operations Jason Crowley was pulled over on January 7 for driving 70 mph in an area with a 45 mph speed limit. Police said he was off duty at the time and was driving in his private vehicle. He was allowed to leave the country without being charged.
Before this information was released, CBC News filed a freedom of information request on February 21 for more information after independently learning about the incident.
A press release four days later said Crowley had “reported the incident to Windsor Police Chief Jason Bellaire.”
However, it is not specified when exactly he made this disclosure.
Bellaire then directed the Professional Standards Branch to investigate the matter, but does not specify when this happened either.
It is also unclear who investigated this incident and what their rank is.
Has the conflicts of interest policy been followed?
The Windsor Police Service conflicts of interest policy is clear that officers “shall ensure that an investigation involving a member of that service … is conducted by the supervisor or other member of a higher rank than the member concerned has”.
The policy also states that consideration should be given to outsourcing the investigation to an external agency where there is a “high level of conflict of interest” and this is necessary to ensure transparency.
The creation of this policy stems from a 9-1-1 call to the home of former police chief Al Frederick in November 2018, where his then-deputy chief was investigating the call for duty. This incident prompted the Ontario Civil Police Commission to encourage Windsor Police to create a conflicts of interest policy as one of its 37 Recommendations.
The Windsor Police Service said it completed all 37 of those recommendations in December, having received them in August 2020.
CBC News has requested interviews with Crowley and Bellaire. A spokesman for CBC News told Windsor Police: “We will not be commenting further on this matter at this time.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, who chairs the Police Committee, did not respond to CBC’s request for comment.
Stunt driving charges mean license revocation, vehicle confiscation
If someone is stopped for driving at 40 km/h or more over the speed limit of 80 km/h or less, they face an immediate 30-day driver’s license suspension, an immediate 14-day vehicle impound.
This person could also face a minimum fine of $2,000 and a possible jail term of up to six months.
Crowley was issued a subpoena to appear in court on the stunt driving charge.
The first time someone is convicted of speeding between 20 and 30 mph, they get four minus points and at least a one-year driver’s license suspension.
The Windsor Police Service has not said if Crowley has previously had any of those penalties.
“Come on guys, other lives are at risk besides yours”
Taking to social media this month, Windsor Police have shared several instances of stopping people for excessive speeding, which has resulted in student fares.
On Twitter, the police published photos of vehicles being towed away with disguised license plates.
“Come on guys, there are lives at risk besides yours,” the Windsor Police Service tweeted.
“Speeding endangers everyone,” says another police tweet.