Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe speaks from the Office of the Police Complaints Commission on the punishment doled out to disgraced former VicPD Police Chief Frank Elsner. (Arnold Lim/News Staff)

Ask for public inquiry into Elsner report: police watchdog to mayors

Report says Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins rushed their investigation

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is encouraging two Greater Victoria mayors to ask for a public inquiry if they have a problem with its report that says the politicians mishandled harassment allegations made against a former police chief.

Rollie Woods, deputy police complaint commissioner, says his office has a “considerable body of evidence” it would be happy to provide publicly to back up the office’s claims that Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins rushed to conclude an internal investigation against former chief Frank Elsner.

READ MORE: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps ‘100 per cent agrees’ with OPCC’s findings on ex-police chief investigation

READ MORE: ‘Set up for failure:’ Esquimalt mayor responds to Elsner report

While both Helps and Desjardins have said they want to discuss the tone of the report with the solicitor general, Woods said the solicitor general has no authority over his office.

In a statement, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says his staff is reviewing the report and the commissioner’s recommendations to remove authority for disciplining police chiefs and deputies from mayors, and his office will take time to consider the report in a broader context.

The report by commissioner Stan Lowe says Helps and Desjardins “predetermined the outcome of the internal discipline process from the outset, and set about navigating a course to allow the former chief to remain in his post.”

In an interview Saturday, Desjardins said she didn’t dispute Lowe’s findings but objected to the report’s tone, commentary and allegations, while Helps said in a statement posted online that any insinuation that she would protect a man who allegedly bullied or harassed women is “upsetting” because she has worked on women’s rights since she was 15.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Home loss ends season for Sicamous Eagles

A defeat at the hands of the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Feb. 22 was the Eagles’ last outing.

PHOTOS: PeeWee Silverbacks finish season with 22 game win streak

The team has gone undefeated since November last year

Word on the street: What is your favourite pie-related memory?

With the 24th-annual Best of the Shuswap Pie Baking Contest taking place… Continue reading

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read