After 15 hours of deliberation last weekend and another meeting today The Halton Police Board voted on a resolution that states it “accepts Chief Tanner’s apology for his decision to travel and will take no further action.”
The motion also notes that the board has “full and unequivocal confidence in Chief Stephen Tanner to remain the Halton Regional Police Service chief.”
Police Board Chair Jeff Knoll said Steve Tanner had been an exceptional Chief and that hehad broken no laws. “The board felt that this lapse in judgment did not warrant ending a 39-year exemplary career.” He acknowledged the Chief’s trip was a” public relations blunder.”
Board Chair resigned
The only casualty of the affair was Halton Police board Chair Rob Burton who had approved Tanners trip to Florida over the Christmas holidays. He stepped down saying 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.”
Chief Steve Tanner issued a fulsome apology for his trip when his trip to Florida became public, stating 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.”
Members of the Police Association called for Tanner’s ouster. The situation was exacerbated when 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. As a result of his need to quarantine, Tanner was unable to attend the officer’s funeral.