By Howard Levitt
In 2021, Jason Redmond, a convicted criminal on leave from the OPP, was paid $121,000 in taxpayer money. As if this is not infuriating enough, it gets far worse
Last week, an Ontario Provincial Police officer who had been convicted of multiple crimes — including rape, assault, drug trafficking and forgery — was finally terminated from the police force.
Outrageously, Jason Redmond had been receiving his full six-figure salary, even though he had been suspended since 2015. His suspension stemmed from a criminal investigation into drug trafficking, which he was convicted of in 2018.
In 2021, Redmond, a convicted criminal on leave from the force, was paid $121,047.96 in taxpayer money. As if this is not infuriating enough, it gets far worse.
In February, a judge found that Redmond had raped a woman while she was unconscious, and made a video of the assault to “teach her a lesson.” But following this conviction, Redmond continued to remain on paid leave from the OPP. In total, he collected 12 criminal convictions before the OPP finally terminated his employment.
OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said that they had been trying to fire Redmond since 2018. Internal hearings pertaining to his employment faced multiple delays and appeals. Like the court system, it appears the OPP’s Professional Standards Unit is plagued with similar backlogs and wait times.
Mercifully, taxpayers are no longer footing the bill for this disgrace. But so many questions remain, such as: how on earth did it take the OPP eight years to cut the cord on Redmond?
There is no scenario where this is acceptable. In the private sector, Redmond would have been out the door immediately. He may have enjoyed a very brief paid suspension, but there is no way any employer would have kept him on the books for long.
A complex matrix of statutory loopholes and bureaucratic red tape, combined with the clunky internal OPP disciplinary process and the clogged criminal court system, enabled Redmond to collect his full pay for all these years.
The Police Services Act in Ontario says that in order for a cop to be suspended without pay, he or she needs to receive a conviction with a sentence involving jail time. That’s right: It isn’t enough for an officer to be charged or convicted of a crime. Prison time needs to be imposed in order for the OPP to be empowered to suspend an officer without pay.
Redmond was finally slapped with jail time for his February sexual assault conviction, and even then, the OPP had to wait months until the official sentence was handed down.
To be clear, due process and procedural fairness are of paramount importance in any termination process. If you are terminating someone for cause, boxes need to be checked and a proper process must be followed. But this is simply absurd.
Public-sector employees like police officers often enjoy good salaries and benefits, which they deserve given the importance of their work and the dangers they face on the job. But a system that protects them from facing the consequences of their misconduct is a broken system indeed; it does nothing to benefit society or keep us safe.
Hopefully this case serves as a wake up call to the government to fix the system that enabled this farce.