The Hamilton Spectator

Kroetsch investigat­ed by police watchdog, suspended from board

Ward 2 councillor cannot take part in police board duties while Ontario Civilian Police Commission investigat­ion is ongoing

- GRANT LAFLECHE REPORTER GRANT LAFLECHE IS AN INVESTIGAT­IVE JOURNALIST WITH THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR. GLAFLECHE@TORSTAR.CA

When the next Hamilton police services board meeting convenes, one of its most vocal members will not be at his seat because he is under investigat­ion by a provincial police watchdog.

Ward 2 Coun. Cameron Kroetsch issued a public letter Monday announcing he is the subject of Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) probe for allegedly breaching the board’s code of conduct.

“During the OCPC’s investigat­ion, I am required to step away from my duties as a member of the (board),” wrote Kroetsch. “As of today, and until the OCPC’s investigat­ion has been concluded, I will not be participat­ing in any duties related to the (board).”

In his letter, Kroetsch claims the investigat­ion was launched at the behest of Hamilton police board chair Pat Mandy, who took issue with Kroetsch’s motions and public comments about the size of the police budget and how the service spends public dollars.

Mandy, appointed to the board by the provincial government, declined to comment for this story. The board’s administra­tor, Kristen Stevenson, sent an email on Mandy’s behalf, saying the chair would not comment because OCPC asked her not to.

The email did say that OCPC informed the board of the investigat­ion on Friday.

The commission is mandated to oversee police disciplina­ry issues and procedures governing police services — including investigat­ing alleged code of conduct violations by board members, and adjudicati­ng disputes between municipal councils and boards over police budgets.

According to Kroetsch, Mandy filed a complaint on behalf of the board with OCPC on Dec. 14 over a motion he filed in September about police service budget surpluses and his social-media commentary that expressed concern about the budget.

“It is my assertion all of this is being done to remove me from the board during the OCPC investigat­ion to prevent my further participat­ion and silence me as much as possible,” reads Kroetsch’s letter.

The OCPC did not immediatel­y provide answers to The Spectator Monday.

During budget deliberati­ons, Kroetsch often pushed back against the budget. During a Sept. 21 meeting of the audit committee, Kroetsch moved a motion that, if passed, would have required both the police service and the public library to hold discussion­s with city council in the event of a budget surplus or deficit.

The motion was defeated. Kroetsch and Anjali Menezes, a citizen appointee to the police board, pitched several potential cuts to the $214-million police budget, but those were rejected by the board.

The overall budget was challenged by city council, who sent it back to the board with a request to find reductions. Ultimately, the board did not cut the budget and council approved it in February.

It is not clear how any of those motions are alleged to have breached the act or the board’s code of conduct, nor what social media commentary may be part of the OCPC probe.

However, in a February post on X (Twitter), Kroetsch accused the board of trying “everything they could to silence me from speaking out publicly about my concerns, including reading out warnings and admonition­s at board meetings,” and said they had made a complaint about him to the OCPC.

Although Kroetsch issued a statement about the OCPC investigat­ion, he declined to share the letter he received from the commission about the investigat­ion, saying he was asked to keep that confidenti­al.

 ?? ?? Coun. Cameron Kroetsch has been suspended from the police services board while a provincial police watchdog investigat­es complaints made about him by the board.
Coun. Cameron Kroetsch has been suspended from the police services board while a provincial police watchdog investigat­es complaints made about him by the board.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada