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Calgary man wants changes to police paid suspensions

If an officer is found guilty of an offence, Fred Kodnar would like to see them pay back a portion of the money they were paid during their suspension

Fred Kodnar said he will be attending the public Calgary Police Commission meeting, Tuesday Nov. 29.

Metro file photo

Fred Kodnar said he will be attending the public Calgary Police Commission meeting, Tuesday Nov. 29.

One Calgary man is calling foul on the Calgary Police Service after learning officers who plead guilty or are found guilty of an offence following a suspension with pay, aren’t required to pay back any of the money.

He plans to raise the issue at Tuesday's Calgary Police Commission meeting.  

Fred Kodnar said the recent findings of a CPS constable’s disciplinary hearing raised flags for him. Const. Stephan Baker was found guilty of three offences : one count of improper use of a firearm, one count of insubordination and one count of discreditable conduct. 

Kodnar said he believes when an officer is suspended they should be paid, as families are dependant on that income and it can sometimes be years before a hearing happens.

But, Kodnar said there should be a provision in place where a guilty party is made to pay back a portion of their suspension pay once found guilty.

“If your suspension is justified then there needs to be reimbursement. Whether it’s for the full amount or a portion, that should be something that’s looked into,” he said. “The constable who pleaded guilty—to me, that was cut and dry. There is no doubt in my mind that's where this proviso would be very applicable.”

Kodnar said he’s brought the issue forward to the Calgary Police Commission (CPC) and was provided an emailed response. They also invited him to Tuesday’s public meeting. Kodnar provided Metro with the email.

“The Commission does not have the jurisdiction to review suspensions without pay.  In accordance with the Police Act, it is the Chief of Police who has jurisdiction to relieve members from duty,” wrote the CPC representative. “Furthermore, the Commission does not have independent access to the confidential and potentially sensitive information the Chief considers in making his decision.  The Commission receives monthly reports from the Chief, but does not have a role in the operational decision to relieve from duty.”

Kodnar said this system just doesn’t add up to him.

“It appears to me that the commission's jurisdiction to review suspensions with pay rather than without pay is backwards and does not best serve the public's interest about situations that basically are a paid holiday,” he said.

Kodnar said rather than paid suspensions he would like to see officers on desk duty.

“There must be clerical jobs that these officers who are suspended could do to relieve some other officer for frontline duty. They say they’re overworked and I think there are too many on desk jobs instead of being utilized for their full capabilities,” he said. “A suspended officer, unless there is true merit that they shouldn’t have any access to any duties within the service, should be working—especially if they’re getting paid.” 

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