The future of Halton Police Chief Steve Tanner became more cloudy yesterday with the resignation of Halton Police board Chair Rob Burton who had approved Tanners trip to Florida over the Christmas holidays. In announcing his resignation Burton said he regretted approving the trip. ““I am resigning now as a member of the Halton Police Board, deeply regretful for my response to the chief’s proposed trip, proud of what we have accomplished in my years as chair, and hopeful for the continued nation-leading success of the HRPS and its Board,” Burton said in his statement. “I regret sincerely that I focussed at the time on the ways the chief’s trip qualified as essential travel. I should have recommended against it because it could generate public concern about me not setting a higher example than the rules and guidelines actually called for.”
The Burton resignation comes as the Halton Police Services Board prepares to meet in camera later this week to obtain legal advice, and then to meet late this month to “act on that advice” as the board put it in a news release.
Chief Steve Tanner is back in Canada and is undergoing the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. When his trip to Florida became public, Tanner tried to diffuse the situation by offering a full apology for his actions that stated in part. “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.
Steve Tanner was appointed Halton Police Chief in 2012 after serving as Chief of the Belleville and Kingston Police Services. He has served as the President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, as the Chair of the Governing Body of the Criminal Intelligence Service of Ontario (CISO), and has been on the CISO Executive for 10 years. In January 2012, he was appointed by the Governor General of Canada as an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.