MANDEL: Police sergeant accused of misconduct for his management of group homes

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A popular Toronto police sergeant known as “Officer Rod” is facing more than two dozen charges under the Ontario Police Act for running a for-profit group housing business for disadvantaged youth.

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According to the 2020 hearing notice, Sgt. Rodcliff Chung became the owner and director of Fresh Start 4 Youth Services Inc. in 2008 without receiving the necessary approval from the chief of police. His dealings with youth who may be involved in the criminal justice system have allegedly placed him in an ongoing conflict of interest.

On the organization’s tenth anniversary, Chung explained to Caribbean TV vibes that the group homes grew out of her volunteer work with at-risk youth. “I just thought it would be a great way to impact the lives of a smaller group and have a more hands-on operation with them.”

So you have to wonder, if the 22-year veteran has been running Fresh Start 4 Youth to high praise from the community for over a decade, why did his bosses suddenly decide to file all these charges now?

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Among 28 counts of misconduct and insubordination, Chung is accused of using TPS email, voicemail, computer and supplies to operate his business and his position as a police sergeant to act on behalf of their group homes. . In 2018, he allegedly requested investigations into several missing residents, “creating the perception that you were acting in an official capacity and not in a private capacity.”

Chung allegedly interfered with various police investigations: “active interference” in 2017 when Durham Regional Police were investigating a volunteer at a Fresh Start group home in Pickering, and in 2020, when a Toronto Police investigation involved his Harrison. Rd. group house in Toronto.

He was also a witness in a 2020 human trafficking investigation involving an employee and a resident at one of his homes in Toronto. “His role as the owner of the business that employed the person under investigation and his role as a police officer was an obvious conflict of interest or appeared to have a conflict of interest,” the disciplinary tribunal document alleges.

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Chung faces a series of misconduct charges related to the use of his TPS email: In 2013, he wrote to a Peel Police staff sergeant for help after an application by rapper P. Reign and Drake was rejected. for paid service. And in 2019 she wrote a letter of support proclaiming the innocence of the daughter of a woman accused of drug trafficking in New Zealand “despite not having access to any of the evidence”.

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He is also accused of leaving his assigned patrol area to attend to group home issues on 11 occasions between February 2019 and April 2020 without notifying dispatcher or recording it in his notes. “By leaving his assigned area, he committed negligence of duty.”

Some of the charges sound downright petty: Chung is accused of bringing home the son of a Fresh Start employee, who had been at headquarters for a Youth in Policing Initiative interview. In 2013, he allegedly conducted police computer searches on his own name and vehicle and on the name of his son.

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On social media, the youth advocate is regularly praised for his efforts, but his employer doesn’t seem too pleased.

“Sergeant. Chung looks forward to defending himself against these charges in court and denies the wrongdoing he is accused of having committed,” his attorney Maureen Salama told The Associated Press. toronto sun. “He looks forward to his hearing and his ability to answer the charges at that time.”

Meanwhile, Officer Rod continues to work as a TPS Sergeant.

Can a police officer have a second job, even if it’s for a worthy cause? His hearing is set for next January.

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