Cobourg’s newly-appointed police chief Paul VandeGraaf is responding to allegations from two women.
Among the allegations: auxiliary officer Amy Arthur was forced to resign due to her disability, and Amy Matthijsse, a 12-year veteran of the force who is currently suspended, alleges she was targeted, harassed and bullied by high-ranking officers including VandeGraaf.
When asked about Arthur’s allegations during an exclusive interview with Global News, VandeGraaf said, “in this particular case, I think it’s a little inappropriate of me to speak to something that is before the Human Rights Tribunal in a very early phase.”
“Further, we categorically deny the allegations as they are before,” he said.
The chief would not comment further on whether the Cobourg Police Service was aware of Arthur’s disability before she was hired.
VandeGraaf was also asked about allegations from Amy Matthijsse, who claims VandeGraaf ordered her staff sergeant to advise her there wasn’t enough time in her banks during a family emergency when Matthijsse was looking after her son, who was in the hospital.
“The previous collective agreement didn’t have any personal time or family time. The issue was not about whether or not she had to com back to work…it couldn’t be out of a sick bank,” he said.
“Really, it should have been a kinder conversation. It’s unfortunate that it came out from the staff sergeant as an order or as harsh. Nobody was expecting Cst. Matthijsse to come to work that day or night.”
VandeGraaf also spoke about Matthijsse’s suspension and an an ongoing preliminary review with the Ontario Civilian Police Commission regarding alleged retaliatory discipline from CPS.
The service said Matthijsse made false complaints. It led to her being charged with 19 counts of discreditable conduct.
In April 2019, she was suspended.
“OCPC said ‘yeah, absolutely, if the suspension meets the criteria under the Police Services Act you can proceed,’ and the notice of suspension was issued then,” VandeGraaf said.
OCPC’s preliminary review will determine whether or not the case warrants a full investigation.
The commission has suspended Matthijsse’s 19 charges for the duration of the review.
WATCH: (Aug. 14, 2019) Suspended Cobourg cop speaks out about allegations against soon-to-be chief