Ontario officer forced to work 60 unpaid hours after post about wife’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ video

A Durham Regional Police officer has been ordered to work an additional 60 hours after taking aim at the police chief on Instagram.

The decision follows an Oct. 5 disciplinary hearing where Constable Clayton Harnum pled guilty to one count of discreditable conduct.

The charge stems from an Instagram post he shared earlier this year in support of his wife, Const. Erin Howard, who is also a Durham police officer. Around Jan. 24, Howard posted a video of herself to social media. In the video, she appears in uniform while delivering a message of support for the “Freedom Convoy,” which occupied downtown Ottawa.

Howard subsequently faced a disciplinary hearing for the post.

In Harnum’s Instagram post, he urged people to reach out to Durham Police Chief Todd Rollauer to “let them know you stand with Erin.” The post included the chief’s email address.

The post also featured a picture of his wife and read “Freedom of Speech is Essential! Please show your support for Constable Erin Howard.”

In an agreed statement of facts, Harnum admitted to having shared the post with his 118 followers and conceded that his actions constituted discreditable conduct and that “this misconduct jeopardized the integrity and reputation of the service.”

In a decision handed down Nov. 16, hearing officer Morris Elbers ordered Const. Clayton Harnum to work the extra 60 hours on days off or on annual leave over a timeline to be decided by his divisional commander “in light of the seriousness of these allegations.”

“The public observes and evaluates the police 24-7,” he wrote in his decision. “We, as individuals and as a professional organization must be mindful of this fact. Our members, while on or off duty, must conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.”

The police service had requested Harnum forfeit 90 hours of pay, while his defence counsel had requested a reprimand.

Harnum was also facing one charge of insubordination, but the charge was withdrawn by the prosecutor.

Elbers noted that Harnum had no previous discipline listed on his 23-year record with the service.

However he also said that he is “not confident” that the officer has learned from the indiscretion “and that he is fully prepared to take responsibility for his actions.”

He said Harnum’s “emotions as a husband superseded his professionalism as a police officer” and that he must accept that what he did was unacceptable.

“As a senior remember you have conducted yourself with a total lack of professionalism, judgement and courtesy, which is expected of all members of the Durham Regional Police Service,” Elbers wrote.

He said the penalty would have been harsher if not for positive comments and observations about Harnum relayed by counsel.

The Durham Regional Police Association, which represents officers in Durham Region, did not immediately return a request for comment about the decision.

View original article here Source