Victoria police chief suspended amid allegations involving Twitter messages

Chief Frank Elsner suspended as fresh allegations surface

Victoria’s police chief has been suspended amid allegations stemming from reports that he sent inappropriate Twitter messages to the wife of one of his officers.

A new investigation into Chief Frank Elsner’s conduct was announced by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner Friday involving new information that includes allegations of false statements and the deletion of data.

A spokeswoman for the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board said in an email that the adjudicator of the new investigation has ordered the chief be suspended immediately.

“The board is arranging to convene next week to discuss the implications of the order for suspension,” she said.

Elsner stepped aside from his duties in December 2015, pending the results of two other investigations into his conduct.

Chief faces three separate investigations

Deputy police complaints commissioner Rollie Woods said Elsner now faces three investigations and a total of 11 misconduct allegations.

The latest allegations came to light from a team of senior Mounties and members of the Vancouver Police Department investigating Elsner.

“They provided a synopsis of some concerning information they had received during the course of the investigation,” Woods said. “That information alleges conduct by chief Elsner, if proven, would be misconduct.”

Two retired B.C. judges began separate investigations last December, with one focusing on the social media allegations against Elsner and the other involving several alleged workplace harassment complaints filed by Victoria Police Department employees through the police union.

Elsner filed court documents last month in an effort to block the investigations saying the commissioner did not have the authority to order another review after the completion of an internal probe.

The documents say allegations surfaced last year that Elsner may have been in a relationship with the wife of a fellow officer and that the woman was also an officer in a neighbouring district.

Woods said the new investigation involves three allegations that include Elsner asking someone to make a false oral or written statement, requesting a potential witness to destroy electronic data and Elsner accessing the police department’s electronic database.

“There’s evidence Chief Const. Elsner sought access to the Victoria police archive server and conducted various searches and erased or attempted to erase emails during the course of an ongoing investigation,” he said.

None of the allegations against Elsner has been proven.

Elsner, who has been a police officer for 31 years, could not be immediately reached for comment about the new investigation.

In an affidavit filed last March, Elsner said he was shocked at the amount of information that has been made public about the allegations he faces.

“I strongly believe my reputation has been irreparably tarnished and my career in policing is over, regardless of the outcome of the investigations,” he said in the affidavit.

Such investigations ‘unprecedented’

“It’s unprecedented and it’s unfortunate for the Victoria Police Department, I think, as a whole,” Woods said.

The Victoria City Police Union said in a statement Friday that it is aware of the new investigation involving Elsner but would not comment.

– With files from Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

UPDATE: Island Health says no need for alarm over needle prick incidents in Victoria

Briefing followed meeting between Island Health, downtown service providers

Central Saanich police chase down speeding biker

A motorcyclist from the Lower Mainland was caught on the Tsawout reserve… Continue reading

Victoria a hot spot for millennials: new study

City ranks No. 2 for generation of Canadians seeking work-life balance

Victoria High turf field/track project hits important funding milestone

Alumni Association members guiding initiative that also includes lighting, new fieldhouse

Victoria airport nearing billion-dollar mark in economic impact

Airport has nearly doubled its passengers and its impact on the economy since 2005

Victoria’s Our Place in desperate need of clothing donations

Downtown service provider feeling pinch from less frequent community clothing drives

Saanich signals support for in-fill developments in Gorge-Tillicum

The Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood continues to experience infill. Council’s committee-of-the-whole signaled Saanich’s support… Continue reading

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Saanich to light up Layritz Park with solar-powered lights

Saanich plans to install more solar-powered lights after installing them in Layritz… Continue reading

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Food industry failing at voluntary sodium reduction: Health Canada

Health Canada report shows the food industry made no meaningful progress in curtailing salt levels

All the colours of the rainbow, in a cloud

Rare phenomenon spotted at Mount Washington

Solitary confinement in Canadian prisons unconstitutional: B.C. Supreme Court

Associations argued that solitary confinement was inhumane

Most Read