Napanee Council to learn sometimes ‘a cop can’t cop a cop’

Napanee Town Hall. Photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

Greater Napanee Councillor Mike Schenk told Napanee it was wrong to say, “A cop can’t cop a cop.” But as it turns out, a cop can’t cop a cop he copped with before.

According to a report coming to the regular council meeting on Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2024, the Town of Greater Napanee Council made an error when it appointed Mayor Terry Richardson to the newly formed Lennox and Addington Ontario Provincial Police Services Board earlier this month.

Following the discussion at the last meeting of Council, the Staff Report notes that there is “a conflict with the eligibility requirements for the board.”

The report explains that the Town Clerk has since confirmed with the solicitor general’s office that “the intention of the legislation is that a former member of the local police service (in this case the Lennox and Addington OPP Detachment) will never be eligible to serve on that particular police board regardless of the length or timing of that service.”

Mayor Terry Richardson, who was appointed to the board on Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2024, was a member of the detachment for some time during his 30+ years of policing.

Had Richardson not worked for the local detachment, he would have been a fine appointee, according to the report, which quotes the solicitor general, “An individual who worked as a police officer in any other detachment subject to the Ontario Police Services Act would be eligible to serve on a board if they have been out of the police service for more than one year.”

The report goes on to say, “Staff apologize for not clearly articulating this in the last report to Council. Given this, an alternative member will need to be appointed to represent the Town of Greater Napanee Council.”

During the June 11, 2024 meeting of Council, Schenk made the motion to appoint the Mayor and seemed to chastise the viewers at home preemptively when he made the above comment, assuming Council-watchers would cry foul and conflict of interest.

Schenk wasn’t completely wrong. Social media attention was drawn to the apparent conflict by a handful of citizens on a local social media page. However, many social media users thought Richardson would be an ideal candidate.

The Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019, states as follows:

33(5) A former member of a police service is not eligible to be a member of a police service board unless,

  • the police service board does not maintain a police service that the person was a member of; and
  • at least one year has passed since the person ceased to be a member of any police service.

The Staff Report recommends that that Council receive for information the OPP Detachment Board Update report; And further that Council appoint another Council Person as the Council appointee for the Town of Greater Napanee. 

In response to Kingstonist inquiries about this situation, a spokesperson for the Town of Greater Napanee said, “As a general rule, staff are not able to comment on reports that are pending before Council until after the meeting has taken place, since the first time staff discuss the material publicly should be with Council. If you have follow up questions after Tuesday night’s meeting, we would be happy to answer them.”

They did not answer specifically when the Mayor had served with the L&A OPP detachment or for how long.

This is a developing story. Kingstonist will provide updated coverage as more information becomes available.

The matter will come before Greater Napanee Town Council on Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2024, when Council meets at 7 p.m. Residents can attend the meeting in the Council Chambers of the Town Hall, located at 124 John Street, and can also be streamed live on the Town of Greater Napanee YouTube channel, where the meeting can also be watched afterwards.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!