London cop demoted for drunk driving

London police headquarters on Dundas St. file photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News

A London police sergeant, who was convicted of impaired driving last year, has now been demoted as a result of her actions.

Sgt. Barbra Martin, a 19-year veteran of the force, pleaded guilty to two counts of discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act at a hearing at London police headquarters on Thursday. A third charge of consuming alcohol while on duty was dropped.

According to the agreed statement of facts, the 40-year-old was pulled over after participating in an undercover police training exercise in Aylmer on October 14, 2018. During the exercise, each participant was given food and a single drink ticket, but permitted to purchase additional beverages.

Martin, who was on duty until 1 a.m. the following morning, left the training exercise to go home around 11 p.m. Driving her personal vehicle, she headed into Aylmer to get some food.

An Elgin OPP officer spotted a vehicle on Imperial Road, which has an 80 km/h speed limit, travelling at a “very high rate of speed” around 11:30 p.m. The officer began going at a speed in excess of 150 km/h to try to catch up with the vehicle, but was unable to. He then notified Aylmer police about the fast-moving vehicle heading into town.

An officer with the Aylmer police service pulled Martin’s vehicle over on John Street after having to go speeds of 110 km/h in a 50 km/h zone and activating his emergency lights, according to the statement of facts.

Open and unopened containers of alcohol were found inside the vehicle and Martin was said to have appeared disoriented and showed signs of impairment, the hearing was told.

A breath sample taken to the Aylmer police station found Martin had more than 200 milligrams of alcohol in her blood, two and a half times the legal limit.

She was fined $1,200 and banned from driving for one year after pleading guilty to impaired driving in December of last year.

It was noted that she had no prior disciplinary record and was cooperative with arresting officers.

At Thursday’s hearing, Martin apologized to the community for her actions.

She has been demoted to a first-class constable for 13 months, after which time she will return to the rank of a third-year sergeant.