Constable Jennifer Magnus, a 14-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service, and over a dozen other officers have submitted a formal complaint to Chief Roger Chaffin alleging they were bullied and sexually harassed.
Dunphy Best Blocksom LPP alleges the Calgary Police Service has failed to provide a safe environment for certain employees, which has resulted in years of workplace bullying and harassment.
Last month, Chief Roger Chaffin said he welcomed the formal complaints.
He said his message to members of the service is that “it is safe to come forward” and that he welcomes the opportunity to develop a better working environment.
“You can’t get to a zero-tolerance strategy until you start investigating these things,” he added.
“having the facts on the table are going to be important, as I said, I know it sounds odd but it is a very good opportunity to start moving them forward from this because we will have something we can actually move on.”
The complaints allege the employees were told by supervisors that nothing would be done if they complained. At the same time, it’s alleged the Calgary Police Association said it would not take on so-called “blue-on-blue” grievances.
“Most victims do not report their concerns in any formal way for fear of retaliation and damage to their careers,” said Rachel West, DBB’s lead counsel on this matter.
“They cannot turn to the individual and say ‘if you make a complaint, your complaint will not only not be heard, nothing will happen, and this is a career-limiting move. Do you really want to do this?’ That can’t be the culture,” said West.
“However, a number of CPS employees are now making formal complaints directly to the Chief in a concerted effort to push the CPS to make the changes that are desperately needed.”
The legal team says it had a “positive” first meeting with Chaffin last week and the chief has committed to investigating the complaints through an external workplace investigator.
“The only thing I really want is this to continue to be a priority for the Calgary Police Service,” said Magnus on News Talk 770’s Danielle Smith Show. “If it’s a priority, I hope they will make [a culture change] happen.”
With files from Aurelio Perri