Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Victoria Police Chief to Undergo Disciplinary Hearings on Misconduct Allegations

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Victoria Police Chief to Undergo Disciplinary Hearings on Misconduct Allegations

Article excerpt

Victoria police chief to have discipline hearings

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Victoria's suspended police chief is to face disciplinary hearings on allegations of inappropriate behaviour toward female staff and breach of trust involving his conduct with an officer's wife.

British Columbia's Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner issued a statement Thursday saying two retired judges found enough evidence for eight of 11 allegations against Frank Elsner to proceed to hearings.

"I would encourage the public not to rush to judgment," said deputy commissioner Rollie Woods. "In fairness to Chief Const. Elsner, he should have his opportunity to go to the discipline proceeding ... and to defend himself any way he chooses."

Commissioner Stan Lowe appointed former judges Carol Baird Ellan and Ian Pitfield in December 2015 to look into separate allegations of discreditable conduct, inappropriate use of department equipment and deceit by the Victoria Police Department head.

Their appointments came after an internal investigation into inappropriate Twitter messages sent to a female member of another police force became public. The woman was also the wife of an officer at the Victoria Police Department.

Elsner apologized at the time, saying he was "truly sorry and humiliated.''

Ellan and Pitfield received reports with the results of two separate investigations on Feb. 24 and had 10 days to recommend whether hearings should be held. The commissioner decided this week to approve their recommendations.

None of the allegations has been proven. Elsner's lawyer Janet Winteringham said it would be inappropriate for her client to comment at this time.

A commissioner's statement says Pitfield found enough evidence to direct three allegations to a disciplinary hearing: that Elsner engaged in unwanted physical contact, made unwelcome sexual remarks and leered and inappropriately stared at female staff members.

The statement says Ellan concluded there was sufficient evidence for five allegations to go to a hearing, including that Elsner "engaged in conduct with the spouse of a member under his command which constituted a conflict of interest and/or a breach of trust. …

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