Saanich Police board chair supports department in case over fired officer, but key questions remain

Saanich Police board chair supports department in case over fired officer, but key questions remain

Case involves former Saanich constable who was the subject of 15 separate misconduct allegations

The chair of Saanich’s police board has issued a statement in support of the Saanich Police Department following news of a former Saanich police officer, who was the subject of 15 separate misconduct allegations that were substantiated following an investigation by Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC).

Eleven of those substantiated allegations relate to what the reports calls an “inappropriate” relationship with a sex worker, while the remaining allegations concern the misappropriation of money seized from a confidential informant. The officer — a constable, whose gender remains unknown – was fired.

RELATED: Saanich police fired over corruption, relationship with sex worker was a constable

RELATED: Report shows Saanich police officer retroactively fired over corruption, deceit, relationship with sex worker

RELATED: Victimization of sex workers by police ‘not irregular,’ Victoria advocacy group says

This case has raised a series of questions about the officer in question, as well as the department itself — questions that the police board has publicly deferred to the department itself following the board’s first meeting on Dec. 4 after the 2018 municipal election.

“The Police Board is satisfied this matter is being adequately addressed by Chief [Bob] Downie and the [Saanich Police Department],” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes in an email to the Saanich News. “Please address any further inquiries you may have on this directly to Chef Downie and the SPD.”

The Saanich News re-submitted an earlier set of questions with two addenda to Saanich Police for comment.

“Our Saanich Police comment is the same as it was on November 22nd,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie in a statement dated Dec. 6.

The statement from Nov. 22 — also from Leslie — said in part that the department took “immediate action” to remove the constable from “operational duties” followed by a suspension.

“We also immediately notified the OPCC and requested their oversight,” he said at the time. As the allegations were significant, and potentially criminal in nature, police coordinated investigative efforts with BC Prosecution Service, he said.

“Saanich Police is proud of its culture of service, has deeply entrenched values, and clear expectations of conduct,” he said. “There are policies to guide our conduct, and the conduct of this former officer, completely disregarded our expectations and were blatant violations of our policies. The women and men of the Saanich Police Department are committed to our values and the community. We remain dedicated to earning and maintaining public trust through transparency, accountability, professionalism, and by being responsive to our community’s needs.”

This statement, however, leaves out details the department refuses to answer: the name of the officer; his or her tenure with Saanich police; his or her compensation while working for the department; any damage caused by the officer’s actions on investigations, the reputation of department, and department morale; any changes by the department to its screening process to avoid the hiring of individuals like the officer in question; and steps to improve training of current officers to prevent such behaviour in the future.

Saanich Police did respond — at least partially — to questions about any outstanding monies (such as pensions) owed to the officer, as well as whether the OPCC is currently investigating any Saanich officer.

“Pension questions would need to be answered by the BC Pension Corporation, and regarding any ongoing OPCC investigations with any police agency in the province, you will need to contact the OPCC directly,” said Leslie.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

The City of Victoria filed a petition with the Supreme Court of B.C. March 2 to have it clarify whether, under the Trustee Act, Beacon Hill Park can be used for temporary sheltering. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria asks court to clarify if Beacon Hill Park can be used for sheltering

City of Victoria filed petition to Supreme Court of B.C. March 2

Boma Brown won the Emerging Leader Award for her work founding the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. (Courtesy of Boma Brown)
Victoria SNIWWOC founder up for national women’s award for volunteer efforts

Victoria’s Boma Brown is a semi-finalist in the running for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth award

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

.
LETTER: Anti-semitism definition lacking

Re: We must identify anti-Semitism and combat it (Online, Feb. 26) I… Continue reading

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read