Victoria’s new police chief will have to wait in the wings while the B.C. government finds police board members conducive to its vision for regional policing.
The terms of four provincially appointed members on the Victoria-Esquimalt Police Board expired Sunday, delaying the board’s ability to approve a replacement for VicPD Chief Const. Jamie Graham.
“Currently, we have only four members on the board and we need nine in order to function,” said Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, police board vice-chair.
In a statement, Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said the delayed appointments aren’t expected to hinder the hiring of a new VicPD chief, and said her ministry has already completed interviews and is in the candidate selection process for replacement police board members.
“I have to ensure a police board has the talent and capacity to take on its strategic goals and maintain co-operative police work across its municipal boundaries,” Anton said. “To these ends, we are changing the provincial complement of appointees to support the mediator’s work and ultimately strengthen the Victoria-Esquimalt policing relationship.”
Anton did not confirm when the new board members will be appointed.
For more than a year, the police board – comprised of Desjardins, Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin, two municipal and up to five provincial appointees – has been negotiating behind closed doors with a provincial mediator on a policing framework agreement for Esquimalt and Victoria.
Anton said she plans to meet with both mayors soon to discuss the matter.
Outgoing board members Linda Lee Broughton, Roy Cullen, Gurdial Dodd, David Johns and Karen Kesteloo were reappointed by the province in October 2012 by then-Justice Minister Shirley Bond.
Municipal appointees Peter Ryan and Joan Kotarski have been reappointed to their board positions along with Fortin and Desjardins.