Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION Officer's punishment doesn't fit `crime'
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 5 Apr 2006, p. 6

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Recent revelations that Halton Regional Police Deputy Chief Mike Kingston lied about having a university degree on four occasions since 1999 makes us question whether the punishment fit his `crimes'. The Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services (OCCPS) had this to say about Kingston's actions: "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." We still believe Chief Ean Algar and the police board's assessment of Mike Kingston as a good police officer; we just aren't sure if we can trust the 29-year veteran after he perpetrated the same lie four times in less than six years. That's an enormous indiscretion to overlook. We find it disturbing the only thing preventing Kingston from a demotion or suspension is that the police service is in the midst of replacing the retiring chief and can't afford to be without two of its most senior officers simultaneously. Equally disturbing is the slap on the wrist of lost vacation time Kingston received for his lies. We doubt an entry level constable would have survived the same investigation with his career intact. In a profession built on public trust, perception is reality. Kingston's light sentence gives the appearance of a police service afraid to do the right thing-- demote a senior officer found to have repeatedly made a mockery of the service and dishonoured the uniform. No matter how good a police officer. Kingston's `crime' was not the unwise decision of an inexperienced and immature new recruit, but the conscious decision of a veteran police officer. What message does the deputy chief's actions and the almost negligible penalty send to Halton's lower ranking police officers? What message does it send to the public? Kingston does the police service's reputation further harm by admitting that he will seek financial reimbursement for the courses he is taking in order to complete the degree he lied about. Had it not been for the mysterious letter that exposed his exaggerations last year, the deputy chief said he might have applied for the chief's job. To that end, Kingston doesn't sound remorseful for what he did; he just sounds sorry he was caught.

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5 Apr 2006
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Kingston, Mike ; Agar, Ean
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OPINION Officer's punishment doesn't fit `crime'