Rookie London police officer faces music for booze-fuelled antics

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A drunken rookie London police officer flashed her badge and told Toronto police she had a gun after forcing a street car to stop during a night of drinking that landed her in the hospital, a tribunal heard.

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A drunken rookie London police officer flashed her badge and told Toronto police she had a gun after forcing a street car to stop during a night of drinking that landed her in the hospital, a tribunal heard.

Const. Danielle Saldanha was charged with one count of discreditable conduct for her off-duty actions on Dec. 13, 2023, after bar hopping in Toronto, according to documents made public this week at her professional misconduct hearing.

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Saldanha, a London police officer since April 2023, pleaded guilty Monday and was suspended without pay for 25 days and ordered to complete substance abuse counselling.

A statement of agreed facts outlined how Saldanha’s unruly behaviour tied up Toronto police resources and led to a streetcar being taken out of service.

“Const. Saldanha’s conduct would shock the community and has resulted in discredit being brought upon the reputation of (London police),” the four-page statement of facts said.

Saldanha’s night out with a friend, an off-duty Toronto police officer, took a turn after she wasn’t allowed back into a bar because she was too drunk. That’s when Saldanha went into oncoming traffic, climbed on the hood of a vehicle and hit the windshield before her friend pulled her away and got her into a ride-sharing vehicle.

The pair were in that vehicle when Saldanha began hitting her friend and pulling their hair, prompting them to call a fellow Toronto police officer for advice, the statement of facts said. The incident was reported to Toronto police, but the friend declined to pursue criminal charges and investigators determined the altercation was consensual.

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Now alone, Saldanha stopped a street car, flashing her badge to the driver and saying she needed help.

“Const. Saldanha appeared panicked and distraught before stating she was a police officer while asking for help . . .  Saldanha entered onto the streetcar holding up and displaying her LPS badge while interacting with the passengers who were attempting to assist her and calm her down,” the statement of facts said.

The driver directed passengers to leave the street car and called Toronto police, who told Saldanha to get out of the vehicle.

“I have a gun in my (waist)band, don’t shoot me,” Saldanha said as she put her hands up.

But police searched Saldanha and the street car and didn’t find a gun. Toronto police contacted the duty sergeant in London, who seized Saldanha’s handgun and other weapons from her locker.

“The firearm was never in Const. Saldanha’s possession as she indicated and was properly stored in her locker,” the statement of facts said.

Saldanha banged the hood of a police cruiser, shouted and used profane and vulgar language with Toronto police officers while waiting for an ambulance to take her to the hospital due to her intoxicated state.

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Police ultimately drove Saldanha to the hospital because no ambulances were available, and she was left unattended because no charges were laid. A family friend picked her up more than two hours later before she could be assessed by a doctor.

Saldanha notified her staff sergeant the next day.

“While Const. Saldanha has limited memory of the events that occurred due to her level of intoxication, she accepted full responsibility for her actions,” the statement of facts said, noting the rookie officer doesn’t have any prior record of professional discipline and hasn’t touched alcohol since her arrest.

Saldanha has remained on active duty since the incident, a London police spokesperson said.

Hearing officer Morris Elbers, a retired OPP superintendent, will release his written decision later this month.

dcarruthers@postmedia.com
@DaleatLFPress

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