Chatham-Kent constable demoted after pleading guilty to Police Services Act charges

Chatham-Kent Police headquarters. Google Maps

A veteran Chatham-Kent police officer will remain on the force as a demoted constable after pleading guilty to charges under the Police Services Act (PSA), months after he pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from allegations of domestic abuse involving his former wife.

Chatham-Kent police say the charges — one of neglect of duty and three of discreditable conduct — laid against Const. Darcy Lunn in the Police Services Act probe were in relation to the criminal charges of assault and uttering threats that Lunn pleaded guilty to in May.

According to the Sarnia Observer, Lunn had assaulted his then-wife in February or March of 2015 in front of their then-14-year-old son, who observed Darcy with a balled fist threatening to strike her, and pushing her against a wall.

Later that year, Lunn called his then-wife over the phone at work and threatened to harm her. The call was overheard by a co-worker, who told court that Lunn called her an obscene word, according to the Observer.

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Lunn’s ex-wife came forward to the OPP with the allegations in the fall of 2019, and in May, Lunn pleaded guilty to the criminal charges and was given a suspended sentence and three years of probation. The couple had separated in 2017, according to the Observer.

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Following the guilty plea, the Chatham-Kent Police Service Professional Standards Branch launched a PSA probe which led to the charges Lunn pleaded guilty to on Dec. 15. News of the guilty plea was made public on Thursday by Chatham-Kent police.

Two of the three discreditable conduct charges stem from the 2015 offences involving his ex-wife.

The other was laid after Lunn was found to have brought his service issued firearm home without proper paperwork between 2009 and 2010, an offence which also led to the neglect of duty charge for doing so without permission of the chief.

Chatham-Kent police say Lunn was imposed a penalty of demotion by Terence Kelly, retired Deputy Chief of York Regional Police, who was the hearing officer for the case.

The demotion will last 18 months, and will see Lunn, a first class Constable, knocked down to fourth class for six months, third class for another six months, and second class for an additional six months.

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“If not for the guilty plea; the officer’s recognition of his misconduct; and his desire to rehabilitate his reputation with management, I would consider a greater penalty,” Kelly said.

Chatham-Kent police say Lunn has since been reinstated from suspension and has been assigned to the Community Patrol Branch.

In a statement, Chatham-Kent’s police chief said he respected the decision of the hearing officer and the penalty imposed “given that he is the Trier-of-fact, having to take into consideration and weigh all the aggravating and mitigating factors associated with this matter.”

“Consequently, we have and will continue to hold our members responsible for their actions,” said Chief Gary Conn.

In 2015, the same year Lunn assaulted and threatened his then-wife, he and another officer were cleared by the Ontario Independent Police Review Director on allegations under the PSA of neglect of duty and unlawful exercise of authority from the previous year.

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