Sarnia Police Chief Phil Nelson. (Photo by Jake Jeffrey)

Police Chief Welcomes New Legislation

Sarnia’s police chief is welcoming new provincial legislation that allows officers to be suspended without pay.

On Thursday, Ontario Attorney General Yassir Naqvi announced a modernization of the Police Services Act for the first time in over 25 years.

Chief Phil Nelson says suspending officers with pay is often met with public criticism.

“I have, in the past, suspended officers with pay because I’ve had no choice,” says Nelson. “That’s always been a sore point with the local people. It’s not so much the charges, it’s that you’re suspending an officer with pay. Now, the ability is there and I’d imagine there would be certain circumstances which you can now consider for suspending an officer without pay. And, I’d imagine there would be some recourse in appealing that suspension.”

Other changes include a requirement for the Special Investigations Unit to report publicly on its investigations, and the creation of a new Missing Persons Act.

The act will give police new tools to respond to missing persons cases where there is no evidence of criminal activity.

They include the ability to track cell phones and enter homes.