THUNDER BAY – It is a story that is very likely to have a lot more behind it, and in coming days will be updated. Mayor Keith Hobbs has temporarily stepped down from the Police Services Board. The decision stems from allegations raised to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission in a complaint from Chief Robert Herman. The Mayor is complaining that the timing on this is likey related to finding a new Chief of Police for the city of Thunder Bay. Chief Robert Herman is retiring this coming July.
Right now, sources have told NetNewsledger.com that members of the Police Services Board, as well as Mayor Hobbs have retained legal council, all at the expense of taxpayers. At issue appears to be a complaint filed against Hobbs that he disclosed information from a Police Services Board meeting.
The issue appears to be over suspended officers. Currently there are three police officers sitting at home, but collecting their full pay. The cost to taxpayers adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It would be easy to simply report the allegations, however understanding the issue, and what those allegations could mean is important.
If Mayor Hobbs were to have disclosed information from an in-camera meeting, he could face sanctions.
However the other issue raised by Hobbs is that the Chief of Police intercepted his private communications. That is a serious issue as well. The Mayor has stated that he believes that Thunder Bay Police Chief Herman has been intercepting his private communications both before and since he became Mayor.
If the statements made by Hobbs are proven accurate, it could leave the Chief of Police open to potential criminal charges. There are very specific requirements, which must be followed for any such interception of private communications. The requirements are laid out on the website from the Government of Canada under public safety. (http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/le/gapo_psep-1-eng.aspx)
The basics demand a strict proceedure, including seeking permission from a judge. There are only a very specific number of offenses which would allow such a move to be allowed. The penalties for intercepting private communications are up to ten years in jail. (http://www.efc.ca/pages/law/cc/cc.184.2.html)
None of the allegations have been proven. The information provided on penalties is just that, information.