Broadcast Time: 2:30 p.m. Date: February 7, 2024
On July 12, 2023, Sarnia Constable Sean Van Vlymen was convicted of Careless Driving as a result of an off-duty incident investigated by Lambton OPP. As a result of that conviction, the SPS entered into an internal disciplinary investigation under the provisions of the Police Services Act. This resulted in Police Act Charges being laid and a hearing process initiated.
On February 7, 2024, Constable Van Vlymen pled guilty to two counts of Police Services Act Part V Sec 2.1.A Discreditable Conduct and received a sentence of demotion, from 1st class to 2nd class Constable, for a period of 9 months. This demotion carries a pay reduction of approx. $20,668.50.
Cst. Van Vlymen remains on paid suspension from the Sarnia Police Service at this time, pursuant to outstanding matters under the Police Services Act.
“The Sarnia Police Service remains committed to swiftly and transparently addressing any complaints and concerns within our lawfully available legal frameworks. Policing is a complex and high-risk profession. As human beings, officers will make mistakes, and in rare circumstances make decisions that result in court or PSA action being necessary. In all circumstances, we are accountable for our actions and any appropriate disciplinary action that may be necessary. It is also important to remember all the other civilian and sworn members of the Sarnia Police Service who continue to professionally serve the public every hour of every day, often in difficult and challenging circumstances.” – Sarnia Police Chief Derek Davis.
Pursuant to the Police Services Act (PSA), internal investigations are initiated as serious matters arise. These investigations run concurrently with other court proceedings and often need to be paused until those court cases are resolved. Comments on these matters are often restrained so as to not impact the potential outcome of any ongoing court proceedings. During this period, officers may remain on normal duties, be assigned to alternate duties within the workplace, or be suspended with pay pursuant to the PSA sec 89.
When an officer is suspected of or charged with an offence or misconduct, a suspension is possible but not automatic. The need for a suspension is based on multiple factors including the severity of the circumstances and potential penalties, impacts on public trust, and the availability of alternate duties that may preclude the need to suspend with pay. In some cases, alternate leaves (e.g. medical) may be occurring that need to be addressed in addition to other suspension considerations.
Sarnia Police Service
Office of the Chief of Police