Timelines are in place, but head of the Calgary Police Commission warns the process to deal with bullying and harassment complaints within the police service will take longer than some might hope.
Chief Roger Chaffin briefed the commission on progress so far on Tuesday. One of the options is routing complaints through the City of Calgary’s existing whistleblower program. “When we looked at the city’s program, it’s really well set up,” commission chair Brian Thiessen said.
“It has an independent third-party company that processes the requests and so when we went back and looked at it the service is thinking that might be a very effective method.” As an independent body, the Calgary Police Service is not currently part of the city program.
Chief Chaffin has advised the commission some timelines are in place.
“Obviously, we’re pushing pretty hard for things to happen sooner rather than later,” Thiessen said. “But we recognize that the chief is trying to do it right not fast and that’s his proper role as the head of the service. So, when he comes back and tells us this will take a little more time, we’re inclined to believe him.”
Once the decision is made either to join the city’s whistleblower program or establish a separate process, there’s still the key task of hiring an independent third-party to oversee complaints. It’s a decision that could involved CPS, the police commission and the Calgary Police Association, the union that represents police officers.
“Setting up the process for selecting that person is very important. You’ve hit the nail on the head,” Thiessen said. “If there is a process where we all can be involved or we set up a system where we’re sure that person is truly objective, that’s very important.”
The issue of bullying and harassment came to a head in January when Constable Jen Magnus (Ward) tearfully tendered her resignation during a police commission meeting. Chief Chaffin refused to accept the resignation. Magnus remains on leave. She and 13 other CPS members and civilian staff are filing formal complaints of bullying and harassment against the service.
with files from Bruce Kenyon, News Talk 770