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Senior Toronto police officer in charge of internal discipline arrested for impaired driving

A senior Toronto police officer who heads the force’s disciplinary court has been arrested for impaired driving.

Supt. Riyaz Hussein was arrested Thursday night by Ontario Provincial Police officers following a collision involving a delivery truck.

The Ontario Provincial Police and Toronto police have confirmed that Hussein, 54, of Pickering, has been charged with impaired driving, reckless driving and open drunk driving after a collision between two cars just after 19 hours. According to a tweet from the Ontario Provincial Police Traffic Division, the rear driver terminated a delivery truck and suffered minor injuries.

Hussein was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Toronto police confirmed in a news release.

Hussein has been suspended from the Toronto Police Service with pay, as required by provincial law. Hussein could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The Toronto Police Service recognizes the public interest implicit in the role of hearings officer,” reads part of the statement from Toronto police.

Hussein is currently listed as the officer in charge of the force’s Disciplinary Hearings Office, the quasi-judicial tribunal that oversees officer misconduct, including criminal offenses such as impaired driving.

In this role, Hussein acts as the chief’s representative, deciding whether to find officers guilty of misconduct and what penalties they will face.

Last year, Hussein fired Toronto police officer Matthew Brewer over a string of criminal convictions and misconduct incidents, including causing an accident after driving while intoxicated.

“Impaired driving, in particular, is extremely serious and the Service has worked hard to eliminate it. As such, penalties may include demotion or dismissal,” Hussein wrote in his ruling, summarizing the police prosecutor’s arguments.

In his ruling, Hussein called the impaired driving “very serious.”

It is not yet clear what implications this could have on the hearings due to be heard in court in the coming weeks.

The superintendent is one of the top ranks in the police department, just below the deputy chief and the staff superintendent.

The arrest comes the same week Toronto police opened an investigation into an unnamed senior officer following allegations of irregularities in the force promotion process.

Sources told the Star that the alleged wrongdoing involves cheating: exam questions are being provided to some of the candidates who have applied for promotion from constable to sergeant.

Service-wide promotions have been halted until the investigation is complete.

Hussein isn’t the only senior Toronto police official to be arrested for drunk driving in recent months.

In August, Insp. Chris Boddy – a senior officer with the force’s Officer Welfare Unit – was arrested by York Regional Police in Richmond Hill after allegedly driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.

Hussein is due in court in Oshawa on February 10.

Wendy Gillis is a Toronto-based reporter who covers crime and policing for the Star. Contact her by email at wgillis@thestar.ca or follow her on Twitter: @wendygillis