Less than a week after a judge blasted the Chatham Kent Police Service for an “unheard of” policy, the service’s top cop is speaking out.
A media firestorm erupted after a woman arrested in March 2015 on suspicion of impaired driving was made to remove her bra before being handed over to the male breath technician.
Justice Lucy Glenn dismissed the charge against the woman last week, while the woman’s defence lawyer Brian Ducharme stressed that he hopes the police service reads Glenn’s judgment carefully.
On Tuesday, Chief Gary Conn confirmed a review of the services policies and procedures is already underway, but says he stands by his officers. Chief Conn says a female officer asked the woman to remove her bra in a private, non-videoed room.
“The woman was verbally directed to remove her bra as well as rings, bracelets and necklaces which she was cooperative in doing,” he explains.
“During this same time, she was further provided by the female Staff Sergeant the opportunity to place a blue jump suit over her clothing, however she declined this offer and opted to continue wearing her long-sleeved brown sweater and track pants.”
Chief Conn says the policy is in place for a reason.
“In this particular case, our primary concern was safety and the taking of clothing which could be used as ligatures for self-harm or strangulation. It should be further noted that our policy and procedures in respect to search of persons and persons in custody was approved by a Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services audit in 2011.”
Chief Conn says once a 30 day appeal period is complete, he’s willing to show the media the booking video which “projects a stark contrast to what the media has depicted”.