More legal problems for Chatham-Kent police officer

Legal problems are mounting for a Chatham-Kent Police Service officer.

Chatham-Kent police

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Legal problems are mounting for a Chatham-Kent police officer.

Chatham-Kent police issued a media release Thursday saying Const. Cristelle Vanden Enden has been arrested and charged following a drug complaint.

The 18-year veteran of the department is already facing fraud charges in connection to allegations in May of stolen personal cheques.

Police said the drug charge stems from an alleged March 21 incident where local officers were called to “an occurrence” involving an off-duty member.

While Chatham officers began to investigate, the department asked the Sarnia police to take over the investigation to ensure impartiality, police said.

Vanden Enden was arrested Wednesday without incident and charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, police said.

She was released and is scheduled to appear in Chatham court on Oct. 21.

Police said the officer was on a leave of absence at the time of the incident and will remain on a leave of absence.

“No further information will be released in order to respect the integrity of the investigation and pending the Police Services Act process,” police said.

It was a Sarnia police investigation that led to Vanden Enden earlier being charged with fraud valued at less than $5,000, use of a forged document and possession of property obtained by a crime.

That investigation began after a local citizen reported the theft of personal blank cheques to police on Dec. 27, 2019, stated a previous media release issued by the Chatham police.

Staff Sgt. Michael Pearce of the Chatham-Kent police’s professional standards branch previously told the Daily News at the time he couldn’t comment on the investigatory process since the Chatham department didn’t conduct the investigation.

“We initially started the investigation, and when Const. Vanden Enden became a person of interest … we requested the Sarnia police conduct the investigation just so that it’s impartial and there can be no criticism or potential perception of bias,” Pearce said.

The sergeant acknowledged it’s difficult on a police service and its members when one of their officers is accused of a crime.

“It’s a difficult day when something like this occurs, but it shouldn’t undermine all the hard work and good work that our other officers are doing in Chatham-Kent,” Pearce said in a previous interview. “We expect our officers to be accountable no different than any other citizen.”

Vanden Enden was released on an undertaking in connection to the fraud charges and is scheduled to appear at the Ontario court of justice in Chatham on Sept. 9, police said.