Newspaper article The Canadian Press

RCMP Called to Investigate Victoria Police Chief, Who Volunteers to 'Step Aside'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

RCMP Called to Investigate Victoria Police Chief, Who Volunteers to 'Step Aside'

Article excerpt

Victoria chief steps aside amid probes

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VICTORIA - Victoria's police chief has stepped aside after an investigation into his social-media conduct with the wife of one of his officers escalated into allegations of breach of trust and discreditable conduct.

B.C.'s police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe announced Friday that RCMP Chief Supt. Sean Burrie will lead two Police Act investigations into eight allegations against Chief Const. Frank Elsner.

Once the investigations are complete, retired judges Carol Baird Ellan and Ian Pitfield will decide whether the chief's actions were misconduct, said Lowe.

Shortly after the announcement, Elsner told the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board he will voluntarily leave his post, pending the results of the investigations due in June, said Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins who serves as the board's co-chairwoman.

"The chief conveyed the message to us by email that he voluntarily wants to step aside for the best of the department, for the best of the (police) board and for the best of all concerned until this investigation is done," said Desjardins.

Desjardins said Deputy Chief Del Manak will become acting chief and Elsner will remain on paid leave.

Elsner could not be immediately reached for comment.

"It's tragic," Desjardins said. "I know the community is concerned. I know there are members of that police department who are hurting."

She said the police board is preparing to call a meeting as early as Monday to review the issue.

When asked why the police board backed the chief when the allegations initially arose, Desjardins said, "There in no way was this a cover-up."

On Dec. 6, Elsner apologized, saying he was "truly sorry and humiliated," after a police-board investigation found Twitter messages he'd sent to another officer's wife were inappropriate. …

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