CK Police Officer Darcy Lunn was demoted after pleading guilty to assault and utter threats
Heather Wright/The Independent
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains descriptions of domestic violence and may be triggering for some people. If you are a victim of domestic assault, help can be found by calling
Janine Bechard is locking her doors and looking over her shoulders again after her ex-husband – Chatham-Kent Police Const. Darcy Lunn – was given back his gun and put back on the street.
And she wants the decision to allow the man who threatened her, and her son, to return to work overturned.
On Dec. 15, Lunn plead guilty to one count of neglect of duty and three counts of discreditable conduct under the Police Service Act. The charges stem from “off-duty conduct” according to the CK police news release which occurred as far back as 2009 and were reported in 2019. Lunn plead guilty to assault and uttering threats in a domestic abuse case heard in Sarnia in May. He was given a suspended sentence and three years probation.
The Police Act charges included bringing a service firearm home without permission, threatening to strike his then wife and pushing her against a wall, and calling his wife at work and threatening to harm her.
Lunn was demoted to the rank of fourth class constable. He could be promoted to first class constable – the highest paid constable rank – in two years.
Bechard said she would testify at the hearing. That didn’t happen. Instead, Bechard heard from a friend on Dec. 18 that Lunn was back to active duty and carrying a gun again.
“I began shaking, I was scared, I instantly went into survival mode,” Bechard says. “I’ve got to protect myself, I’ve got to protect my son, (I was) locking the doors, making sure the windows were locked, making sure the garage door was down, making sure my dogs were out so that if they heard any type of noise outside the house, they could alert me to it.”
Bechard says Lunn’s service revolver was central to the abuse she suffered over 23 years with the officer.
“Darcy would bring his gun home from work and leave it on the island in the kitchen or on the top shelf of the bookshelf in the living room,” Bechard tells The Independent. “Darcy threatened to shoot me and my son so that he could feel better about his life and not deal with his problems.”
Bechard alleges Lunn had mental health problems linked to his use of injectable steroids. Lunn is involved with Slam Wrestling under the name of Danny Steel.
“My ex-husband was protected by the badge he was given when he became an officer with the Chatham Kent police back in 1998,” she says.
Bechard says he became a police officer “who strikes his wife, his son, threatens their life, brings his gun home without permission from his department, phones me at my workplace and threatening me over the phone…punches me so badly my son had to stop Darcy from continuing and possibly causing severe damage or even killing me, hitting me in the face in a stairwell falling backwards down the stairs hitting a cement wall and becoming unresponsive, blacking out and when coming to screaming for help.”
Bechard says Lunn has never apologized and he didn’t speak during the criminal trial.
The Police Act Hearing Officer, Terence Kelly, retired deputy chief of York Regional Police, said that Lunn’s action is “completely at variance with the standards expected of members of the Chatham-Kent Police Service.”
But he says his guilty plea, which Kelly says was a “recognition of his misconduct” and that he wanted to “rehabilitate his reputation with management” or he would have considered a greater penalty.
Bechard says it’s proof CK Police are protecting their own.
“It is unfortunate that the Chatham Kent Police Service does not take into consideration the victim of the abuse at the hands of their officers,” she says.
Bechard says she sent four requests by email to the officer leading the Police Act investigation saying she wanted to speak to meet with Police Chief Gary Conn to explain what affect the officer’s abuse had on her, however he didn’t respond.
Sgt Mike Pearce, the head of the professional standards branch of the Chatham-Kent Police Service, says the chief – who is a member of the board of the Chatham Kent Women’s Centre which helps victims of domestic violence – was not aware of the request or he would have met with Bechard.
Michelle Schreyer, the executive director of the Chatham-Kent Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, is concerned Lunn is back on the street since the public isn’t aware of what steps he may have taken to deal with the issues that led to the domestic violence.
“In order to maintain public confidence in the system, there needs to be some kind of accountability to the public,” she says. “I don’t know whether or not Const. Lunn went through the work toward rehabilitation in terms of his attitudes and behaviours that led him to be violent and to threaten violence against a woman who was his intimate partner.
“That’s relevant in reestablishing trust with the public.”
For her part, Bechard hopes a public outcry to the Attorney General will lead police to revisit the police act charges. And she hopes by coming forward, other abuse victims will find strength to get help.
“I need to come forward, and I need to share what’s happened so that I can help other people, but not just help other people help my son,” says Bechard.
“He needs to have a stable base that he can make sense of this, as much as he can, and be able to move forward and be successful in his own life and not carry this and hold on to it like I did for 23 years and wonder if you know, you’re ever going to be able to come out of this.”
- If you are a victim of domestic violence help can be found at the Women’s Interval Home of Sarnia Lambton at 519-336-5200 or the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre at 519-337-3154.