A VicPD officer used her vehicle’s siren and emergency lights to get her children to school, according to a provincial report released Tuesday.
An annual report from the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) provided an overview of police misconduct investigations across B.C. between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, and included details on a number of investigations into members of the Victoria Police Department.
On Sept. 4, 2018, an officer strapped her two children together using one seat belt in the front seat of a police van, then activated the siren and emergency lights while driving them to their elementary school. Several motorists pulled over to allow her through.
While the OPCC recommended verbal reprimand as discipline, the officer left the City of Victoria’s jurisdiction – for reasons not related to policing – without notifying her supervisor and while in the midst of an investigation.
Another VicPD officer faced a neglect of duty allegation for leaving his loaded duty pistol in a desk drawer in the Communications Centre of the Victoria Police Department for over a day until it was discovered by a civilian call taker. The officer was disciplined with advice on future conduct.
The OPCC also reviewed an investigation into a special constable who was “rude and disrespectful” to corrections staff after her daughter was incarcerated. The officer also requested fast tracking of visitation applications due to her position within the police department and used VicPD’s email system to contact her daughter and the correctional investigator. The officer received two days of suspension, a written reprimand and was tasked with writing a letter of apology to corrections staff.
The report also included details on a series of investigations into the force’s former Chief Constable, who quit after allegations arose of discreditable conduct in his relations with the wife of a police officer under his command, as well as attempting to procure a false statement from a witness and unauthorized use of police resources.
Following an internal investigation, the The OPCC ordered a public trust investigation to have the misconduct investigated by the an external police force – in this case the Vancouver Police Department – and have retired judges act as discipline authorities.
At that time the OPCC became aware of further allegations pertaining to unwanted physical contact with female staff at the police department, making unwelcome remarks of a sexual nature and inappropriate comments that could be seen to objectify female staff members.
The retired judges imposed a number of punishments on Elsner including a 30-day suspension, demotion in rank to constable, training in ethical standards, training for harassment and sensitivity, and ultimately dismissal from policing. Those disciplines will be recorded on his service record as he had already quit when the investigations were completed.
Overall, the OPCC report saw misconduct allegations spike 65 per cent across B.C.’s municipal police forces.
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