A deputy chief of Halton Regional Police has pled guilty to four charges of misconduct related to repeated false claims of having a university degree when he was applying for promotions to high-ranking positions. Mike Kingston, the junior of the region's two deputy police chiefs, has been docked most of his annual vacation entitlement, 25 days, and ordered to return to school. He has started the process of taking five courses in an effort to complete the four-year Police Studies Bachelor of Arts program at Georgian College in Barrie. The academic credentials of the 51-year old Kingston were called into question when the region's police services board received a letter in March 2005 disputing claims he had a three-year general BA from the University of Waterloo. The Waterdown resident is a 29 year veteran of Halton police. The board turned the letter over to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services. The OCCPS investigated and offered its decision last Friday (March 24) in a 12-page agreed statement of facts (www.occps.ca). A contrite Kingston spoke on Wednesday. "I made a representation on my resumé that was inaccurate. I claimed I had a BA when I didn't," said Kingston, who is on active duty. "It was certainly a wrong thing to do and I co-operated fully with the investigation, and the first chance I had to resolve it I went in and I pled guilty immediately. "I shouldn't have had to but I learned a valuable lesson and I want to prove back to the community and the police service that I'm better than that and I'm going to do the best I can in the years I have left in my policing career." Kingston said that while he believed he had "a significant amount of education, the manner in which I claimed it was wrong. I accept that and apologize..." A Halton police news release stated that, in deciding on the penalty, OCCPS acknowledged Kingston's prior "lengthy unblemished employment record", the strong support of the police services board and Chief Ean Algar, and the "very positive" performance assessments provided to them. The OCCPS also concluded that Kingston did not derive any direct benefit or an edge on other promotional candidates from his false claim of a BA. "In our view, while knowledge of Deputy Chief Kingston's misconduct may cause some concern about his suitability to lead or his ability to discipline others charged with disciplinary infractions, we are persuaded that his lack of good judgment with respect to these specific occurrences is not symptomatic of a more serious defect of character or future ability," said part of the OCCPS ruling. "We have heard from the board and the chief that demotion or suspension of (Kingston) would have an adverse impact on the service, which is in a state of transition and will be facing challenges for which his skills are needed as part of the police management team," the two member OCCPS panel also stated. Algar, who is retiring this year, said there will be no supplementary discipline from the board or him as it was solely an OCCPS issue. He would not say whether the letter to the board came from a police employee or the public. He did acknowledge that officers and the general public will have their own opinions about the appropriateness of Kingston's penalties. "I think it will be all over, some will think it's hard, some will say it's fair and some say it's unfair.... It's been a valuable lesson. I know he's personally paid for it. I respect its (OCCPS) decision." A graduate of Aldershot High School, Kingston started his policing career in Burlington and served as the detective sergeant for the Criminal Investigations Bureau in Burlington in the mid-1990s. He was a superintendent and commander of No. 1 District, which encompasses Milton, Georgetown and Acton, at the time of his promotion to deputy chief of administration in November 2004. The OCCPS decision also stated, "Over the course of several years starting on or about Jan. 7, 1999, Deputy Chief Kingston participated in four internal competition processes for promotion to a higher rank. "In each of these processes, he proffered inaccurate statements in which he represented that he had completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Waterloo. "The first misrepresentation in 1999 set the stage for a series of deceits. Each instance of deceit built on the previous one. Each was an ethical breach that, over time, became more difficult to undo without considerable risk," stated the OCCPS. As for future promotions, Kingston said the chief's position, currently short-listed to eight names, intrigued him but that the investigation precluded throwing his hat into the ring. "I would have really considered it but quite frankly I have a period of atonement or penance to go through and I want to come back to it in a number of years if possible... I want to rebuild some credibility."