Settlement reached in Sterling hearing

 

By Aaron Jahn

In the end the Amherstburg Police services got the result they wanted in their case against Sgt. Colleen Sterling, a 12-year veteran of the force facing 32 charges of misconduct under the Police Services Act.

Sterling will receive $110,000 in settlement pay, equivalent to one year’s salary and $1,300 in stat pay that she was entitled to based upon her presenting documents resigning her commission effective immediately.  Police Services Committee Chairman John Sutton says that in the end, this is the best result for both parties.

 

Colleen Sterling will recieve $110,000 in settlement pay and will resign from the Amherstburg Police Service

“I think at the end of the day it’s a business decision, when we look at it from the board and taxpayers perspective, to litigate this would have cost in excess of $240,000 and as the police act requires, we’d still be paying Sgt. Sterling during that time and the outcome would still be uncertain,” said Sutton. “So I think this allows both parties to move on in a positive direction and really I think is what’s best for the service overall and Sgt. Sterling herself so she can move on and hopefully have a productive future.”

Sterling has been suspended with pay since August of 2011, pending the outcome of the hearings.  Sutton says that he would like to see changes made to the Police Services Act allowing officers to be suspended without pay to help speed this sort of process along.

“You’re always open to anything occurring during police services act hearings and an offer was made and we took some time and looked at it’s  merits,” said Sutton.  “I think at the end of the day what this really underscores is that we need to make some changes to the Police Service Act, this case non-withstanding, not speaking specifically of this case, in certain narrow circumstances we want to have the ability to suspend without pay, because it forwards things and you can get a quicker resolution.”

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