Police officer demoted for drunk driving through Clarington

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Published June 6, 2023 at 3:08 pm

COURTESY HAMILTON ENCAMPMENT SUPPORT NETWORK
COURTESY HAMILTON ENCAMPMENT SUPPORT NETWORK

A Durham Regional Police officer has been demoted after his fellow officers found him driving drunk in Clarington.

The officer, 21-year veteran Cst. David Duffy, was found behind the wheel of a running car on the side of the road on Dec. 7, 2020. He was in the driver’s seat and the officers concluded he had care and control of the car. However, they also concluded Duffy was drunk.

The officers arrested him on scene and brought him to the East Division headquarters. There he took two breathalyzer tests which found he had 70 and 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Since these tests were conducted more than two hours after his arrest, his actual blood alcohol content while driving would have been higher.

Police charged Duffy with two counts of drunk driving. He plead guilty to the second offence and the first count was withdrawn. Justice Brenda Green convicted him in May 2022 and sentenced him to a $1,000 fine and a year-long driving ban.

Due to this conviction, he also later pled guilty to discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act in Apr. 2023. Police adjudicator Morris Elbers, formerly an OPP superintendent, released his decision on Jun. 6.

Elbers found Duffy’s misconduct was serious, damaged public trust in the police and impugned the service’s reputation. He also felt any punishment needed to serve as a deterrent to Duffy’s fellow officers. However, Elbers also noted Duffy had co-operated fully with the investigation, accepted the responsibility with his guilty plea and had no prior disciplinary record in his more than two-decade career.

Weighing these factors Elbers concluded Duffy should be demoted one rank for nine months. After this period Duffy will return to his former rank. “His actions are clearly unacceptable,” Elbers wrote, “The penalty must reflect that the DRPS will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour.

“Constable Duffy, as a senior member of this organization, you have conducted yourself with a total lack of professionalism, judgement and courtesy, which is expected of all members of the Durham Regional Police Service,” Elbers said.

Duffy will return to the rank of First Class Constable in December.

 

 

 

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