The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has confirmed its criminal investigations branch is involved in a probe into the Thunder Bay police service.
OPP Spokesperson, Bill Dickson says the Ministry of the Attorney General sent the request for an investigation in December 2021, and its criminal investigation office “has been assigned to ensure a complete, thorough and independent investigation into allegations related to members of the Thunder Bay police service.”
In an email confirming the investigation, Dickson said the OPP can’t speak further on the investigations “in order to protect the integrity of the investigation and any ensuing court processes.”
The OPP’s investigation is in addition to a separate investigation announced earlier this year by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.
The OCPC announced those details on Feb. 11, saying it “has concerns about the Thunder Bay Police Service’s management of discipline in the police service, the conduct of criminal investigations by its officers, and the ability of senior leadership to administer the day-to-day operations of the police service in good faith and in compliance with the Police Services Act.”
The OPP didn’t name the members of the police service under investigation.
In January, Thunder Bay deputy chief Ryan Hughes was suspended pending an internal investigation.
The chair of the Thunder Bay police services board, Kristen Oliver, says the board is concerned to hear about the latest investigation but “is respectful of the process that the OPP is engaged in.”
In an email reacting to the criminal investigation underway, Oliver wrote “the Board is not suspending Chief (Sylvie) Hauth, and will not unless and until there are objective findings that would lead to such a decision.
“The Board is very concerned that individual members of the Service have had their names publicly attached to this matter, by third parties, in a way that is damaging to them and contrary to the confidentiality that the Police Services Act requires.”