Halton police chief to remain in role following ill-timed Florida vacation

Halton police announced Stephen Tanner will keep his job after a recent trip to Florida

Halton police announced Stephen Tanner will keep his job after a recent trip to Florida became public knowledge.

In a statement, the police services board says it has “full and unequivocal confidence” in chief Tanner.

“The Board expresses its disappointment in both the former Chair, Mayor Rob Burton, for granting permission to Chief Tanner to travel to the United States, for not obtaining the consent of, nor notifying, the Board and in Chief Tanner for his decision to ask for permission and for travelling to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding his property-related issues in Florida,” the statement reads.

“The Board accepts Chief Tanner’s apology for his decision to travel and will take no further action.”

Tanner travelled to Florida over the holidays and says it was so he could take care of property-related issues.

“I sincerely appreciate the full and unequivocal confidence the Halton Police Board has placed in me as Chief of Police,” Tanner said in a statement.

“I will continue to lead our police service in the exemplary manner the Board has come to expect, and will always do my very best for our members, citizens, and for the community that I am sworn to protect.”

As part of the aftermath, Burton, Oakville’s mayor, resigned from Halton’s police board after he publicly defended his decision that allowed Tanner to travel to Florida amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I regret sincerely that I focussed at the time on the ways the chief’s trip qualified as essential travel,” Burton said in a statement on January 11.

“I should have recommended against it because it could generate public concern about me not setting a higher example than the rules and guidelines actually called for.”

Tanner says he has since apologized to members of the force and hopes to move past the incident.

“Regardless of the personal property related reasons for which I travelled recently, or the permission that I sought and obtained for that travel, I am remorseful for that decision,” the police chief said.

“I have previously apologized openly to all of our members and to the public. I also regret the impact that this has had on Mayor (Chair) Burton who has stepped down from the Halton Police Board as a result of his decision to support my travel.”

“I look forward to continuing my service and to providing leadership to our community and to our police service members to the very best of my ability throughout the years to come,” Tanner concluded.