It’s never good news when your employer is seeking legal advice about you. Today the Halton Police Services Board issued the following cryptic statement:
In response to concerns regarding Chief Tanner’s recent travel to the U.S., the Halton Police Board will be holding a special meeting on Friday January 15 to obtain legal advice. This meeting will be closed to the public, as permitted under the Police Services Act. The Board will deal with the matter at its next public meeting 9 am January 28th, which will be held by Zoom.
Halton Police Chief Steve Tanner returned to Canada from Florida this past weekend, but he has already been the centre of anger from among the rank and file of the Halton Police Service over his decision to go to Florida to attend to personal business. While still in Florida, Chief Tanner tried to diffuse the situation by offer this full apology for his actions.
In late December I travelled to Florida to address some personal business matters. This was done with the knowledge and support of the Halton Police Board Chair.
My decision to travel in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation was a poor decision and one that I deeply regret. I am returning to the country this weekend and will be complying with the requirements to quarantine upon my arrival in Canada.
What weighs on me the most is the fact that I am not there to support my 1,000 members as we grieve the loss of one of our own. I have extended my deepest apologies to every members of the Service. My absence is a distraction from their healing and has taken the focus away from what is most important at this time.I sincerely apologize for my decision to travel out of the country.
As Tanner mentioned the trip came at the same time as a member of the Halton Police Service, Detective Constable Michael Tidball suffered a medical emergency while on the job and died. Const Tidball was the son of well-known Hamilton Lawyer Bill Tidball.
Halton Regional Police Association President Clay Gillis said “The members are not happy about (Tanner’s absence) and they would expect him to provide a reasonable and justified answer. There is animosity and anger to the point where people expect me to demand that he resign.” When the news first broke Halton Police Board Char and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said he had been advised of Tanner’s trip in advance and had ok’d it. Since that statement by Burton, the backlash has not abated.