Stunt driving charge against Windsor police acting deputy chief raises many questions

Jason Crowley assumed the role of acting deputy chief of Windsor police beginning in May. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)
Jason Crowley assumed the role of acting deputy chief of Windsor police beginning in May. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)

Seven weeks after it happened, the Windsor Police Service announced its acting deputy police chief is being charged with stunt driving.

In an uncommon Saturday news release, it said acting deputy chief of operations Jason Crowley was pulled over on January 7 for driving 111 km/h in an area with a posted speed limit of 70 km/h. Police said he was off duty and driving inside of his personal vehicle at the time. He was allowed to leave without any charges.

Prior to this information becoming public, CBC News filed a Freedom of Information request on February 21 seeking more information after independently learning of the incident.

Jason Viau/CBC
Jason Viau/CBC

In a news release four days later, it said Crowley "disclosed the incident to Windsor police chief Jason Bellaire."

However, it doesn't specify when exactly he made that disclosure.

Bellaire then directed the Professional Standards Branch to investigate the matter, but it also doesn't specify when that happened.

It's also unclear who investigated this incident and what rank they hold.

Was conflict of interest directive followed?

The Windsor Police Service's own conflict of interest directive clearly states that officials must "ensure investigations involving a member of this service ... are conducted by the supervisor or another member holding a rank higher than the subject member."

The directive also says considerations should be made to assign the investigation to an external agency if there's a "heightened conflict of interest" and where it's needed to ensure transparency.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press
Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The creation of this directive stems from a 9-1-1 call to former police chief Al Frederick's home in November of 2018 where his deputy chief at the time investigated the call for service. That incident prompted the Ontario Civilian Police Commission to encourage Windsor police to create a conflict of interest directive as one of its 37 recommendations.

The Windsor Police Service announced it completed all 37 of those recommendations in December, after receiving them in August of 2020.

CBC News has requested interviews with Crowley and Bellaire. A spokesperson tells CBC News Windsor police "we will not be commenting further on this matter at this time."

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens, who's chair of the police board, has not responded to CBC's request for comment.

Stunt driving charges mean license suspension, vehicle impoundment

If someone is pulled over for driving 40 km/h or more over the speed limit of 80 km/h or less, they would face an immediate 30-day license suspension, an immediate 14-day vehicle impoundment.

That person could also face a minimum fine of $2,000 and potential jail term of up to six months.

Crowley has been issued a summons to appear in court for the stunt driving charge.

Twitter/Windsor Police
Twitter/Windsor Police

If someone is convicted of speeding between 30 and 49 km/h over the speed limit for the first time, they would receive four demerit points and a minimum of a one-year license suspension.

The Windsor Police Service has not said if any of these penalties have already applied to Crowley.

'Come on people, there are other lives at risk besides yours'

On social media this month, Windsor police has been sharing several instances where they've pulled people over for excessive speeding resulting in student driving charges.

On Twitter, police posted photos of the vehicles being towed away with their license plates disguised.

"Come on people, there are other lives at risk besides yours," one of the Windsor Police Service's Tweets said.

"Speeding places everyone at risk," another police Tweet said.