Police probe merits mentioning

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Burlington OPP detachmentPhoto by David Ritchie

The news that the Ontario Provincial Police are investigating mayor Randy Hope and Chatham-Kent administration for breach of trust allegations is a cause for concern, but not panic.

Rumours had circulated around the community for months about the investigation, and once we had the facts, we decided to print what we discovered.

The OPP investigation was initiated last year when an action was filed against the mayor, alleging conflict of interest. That private claim, brought forth by Ian McLarty, was dismissed.

Chatham-Kent Police Chief Dennis Poole acted properly when he referred the allegations to his provincial counterparts. It eliminates any chance that the outcome of the investigation will be in any way tainted (in terms of public perception) due to political considerations.

Our work in bringing forth the story may have political implications, but the careers of our political leaders are clearly not the issue here. What’s at stake is more than any single politician’s record; it speaks to the integrity of the office.

Our readers deserve to know what’s going on; it’s as simple as that.

It is important to note that although there may be similarities in some of the subject matter of OPP probe and McLarty’s claim, the methods, abilities and authority of the two are vastly different.

We would advise caution concerning the length of time the investigation is taking. The only ones who really understand what’s happening are those conducting the probe and for obvious reasons, they aren’t about to reveal their daily activities.

Although the OPP can’t be accused of having a political agenda in pursuing the investigation, we sincerely hope the activity is brought to a conclusion sooner rather than later, whether it results in a recommendation to the Crown that charges be laid or that there is insufficient evidence to do so.

Our community has many challenges and the sooner we can put this issue to rest, the better.

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