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Windsor police officer pleads guilty to making inappropriate comments to female officers

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A Windsor police officer has been demoted for inappropriate comments, text messages and “unwanted physical contact” towards female employees of the service.

Inspector Norman Armstrong – who also goes by the first name Ed – pleaded guilty Monday to one count of discreditable conduct.

“Inspector Armstrong engaged in unwelcome comment and conduct against several female Windsor Police Service members that Inspector Armstrong knew or ought reasonably have known were unwelcome,” hearing adjudicator Morris Elbers said.

“These facts provide clear and convincing evidence that substantiate the allegations as stated in the notice of hearing.”

During the Windsor Police Service (WPS) Professional Standards Branch (PSB) hearing, prosecutor Alex Sinclair read an Agreed Statement of Facts.

“Inspector Armstrong’s misconduct is a serious matter,” Sinclair said. “It involved a pattern of intentional conduct that occurred over a prolonged period of time rather than a single isolated incident.”

Between 2005 and 2023, Armstrong admitted to:

  • Making unwelcome comments and text messages, sometimes of a sexual nature, to female WPS members.
  • Making comments about the appearance of female WPS members.
  • Making unwanted physical contact with female WPS members.

Armstrong joined the police force in September 1998.

Armstrong's apology:

Before he was penalized, Armstrong apologized for his actions.

“I want to apologize to those who have spoken up about this matter and express my respect to the validity of your feelings,” Armstrong said.

“I realize my behaviour was inappropriate and did not reflect the respect and consideration that I should have shown.”

He also apologized to the WPS and the community and told Elbers he was committed to improving himself and making “amends” for his actions.

“This experience has been humbling and I hope it serves as an example to everyone of the necessity to maintain professionalism in the workplace,” Armstrong said.

“To those of you that my actions have impacted please know that you’re feelings are valid and I genuinely apologize for any hurt or frustration I may have caused.”

Aggravating factors:

Elbers noted Armstrong was promoted expeditiously from constable to inspector, which he said was “congratulatory”.

“Being an Inspector in the organization also means that there is a higher conduct that is expected of you,” Elbers said.

“Subordinates (who) are looking up to you, when you have shown the conduct that you have, its something that I think you’re subordinates would not be too happy about.”

Mitigating factors:

Armstrong was given credit for pleading guilty; thus saving the parties (including complainants) a lengthy trial.

Sinclair and Elbers also acknowledged the officer cooperated with the PSB investigation.

He was also given credit for not having any previous discipline actions and positive performance reviews.

Penalty:

“The proposed penalty will be of financial consequence to Inspector Armstrong, and the proposed penalty will most likely tarnish his previously positive professional reputation,” Sinclair said.

Effective February 12, 2024 Armstrong was demoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant for one year.

After that, he will be promoted back to the rank Inspector.

He was also ordered to participate in remedial anti-harassment training within three months.

WPS response:

“Inspector Armstrong’s misconduct is a serious matter that involved a pattern of intentional conduct,” said Karel DeGraaf, Acting Deputy Chief, Operational Support in a news release.

“Our members are expected to conduct themselves professionally and in accordance with Windsor Police policies and directives at all times. Inspector Armstrong’s conduct fell below this standard.”

WPS also note the allegations “surfaced” in 2023 and the force says the investigation was conducted by Peel Regional Police “to ensure transparency and impartiality.”

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