Thursday, September 04, 2008

 

Allegations that brought down police chief lodged by department brass

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By Keith Vass
Victoria News - September 04, 2008

The allegations that prompted the suspension and investigation of former Victoria police chief Paul Battershill came from "senior police officers against their Chief Constable," B.C. Police Complaints Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld revealed Thursday.

{Snip} ...

In his report, Ryneveled also confirmed Battershill admitted to RCMP investigators he was involved in a "personal relationship" with a lawyer working on contract to the Victoria Police Board.

Ryneveld quoted parts of RCMP Supt. Bill Ard's final investigation report. Ard found the relationship created a "reasonable perception" that it affected Battershill's ability "to assess, scrutinize and give instructions ... in the best interests of the VicPD and VicPB" and could discredit the department.

The Law Society of B.C. confirmed last month it was investigating a professional conduct complaint alleging that Marli Rusen, a labour lawyer employed by law firm Heenan Blaikie, was involved in a sexual relationship with Battershill while she was employed by the Victoria Police Board.

Rusen was reportedly responsible for drafting several severance agreements with senior senior officers as well as Battershill's personal secretary.

But while Ard concluded that the relationship created an appearance of conflict for Battershill, Rynveled stressed that Ard's nine-month investigation found no evidence that either Battershill or Rusen improperly benefitted from the relationship and there was no criminal breach of trust.

An undisclosed number of other allegations were not deemed sustained.

Ard recommended "at most a brief suspension" or reprimand over the default, Ryneveld wrote, citing the fact coupled with Battershill's resignation among several reasons for his decision not to call a public hearing.

While Ryneveld acknowledged the public curiosity the case has generated, he concluded a costly public hearing would not advance the public interest, when the hearing would not add new information to the RCMP findings.

He also found a public hearing was not necessary to restore confidence in either the police complaints process or in the police.

"The process worked," Ryneveld wrote. "Police officers with serious and concerns felt free to come to me with their concerns and I listened to those concerns with care."

""I independently assessed those concerns and I acted on them. I had them independently investigated. I can assure the public that those independent investigators did their job."

A public hearing could also lead to "a public airing of some of the dynamics at play in these matters, even though not supporting a default finding, (that) would expose inter-personal issues and dynamics that would do little to enhance public confidence in the police."

Ryneveld's report does not identify the officers who came forward with concerns.

"Frankly, given the prevailing environment and differing 'camps' that this case has disclosed, I also do not want any of them to face recriminations for making the allegations in the first place," he wrote.

But Ryneveld also said he took care to ensure "the Police Act process (against Battershill) not be used to promote personal or political agendas" and solely focused on whether the former chief had breached professional conduct rules.

Sgt. Grant Hamilton, Victoria police spokesman, said the department was going to take time to "digest and review" the report before deciding whether to comment on it.

Ryneveld's complete report is available on the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner's website, opcc.bc.ca.

kvass@vicnews.com


http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_south/victorianews/news/27873774.html

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See also:

Hearing ruled out in Victoria police chief case
CTV - September 04, 2008

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Comments:
Just read it Mary. Much ado about nothing really...a sad statement, it has affected both of their careers which were spectacular...lots of hints of skullduggery by those out to get them ! This one smells...
 
It says clearly in section 60(5) of the Police Act that Dirk Reynveld has the power to order a public hearing "to preserve or restore public confidence in the complaint process or in the police."

So why wouldn't he order a hearing when 'public confidence' is exactly what we have lost?

Reynveld argues that the fact the Chief has been 'reprimanded' and resigned is enough. He goes on to say that a public hearing "would expose inter-personal issues and dynamics that would do little to enhance public confidence in the police" and therefore should not be held.

In fact, this is a perfect example of when a public hearing is truly necessary: to prove to the public that the issues in the department have been completely resolved and the process has worked. Without a hearing, the public will have no idea why Chief Battershill resigned nor what office dynamics were causing such serious problems in the department.

I am amazed Mr. Reynveld disagrees.
 
Global BC just had a pretty good summary. They talk about backstabbing and skullduggery, not really a serious discipline offence, he was separated when it happened...not bad for mainstream media...
 
No wonder people are quitting VICPD; even the Chief; who would want to work in a disfunctional workplace like that?
 
The second last page 0f the report identifies "certain private persons of considerable influence who have their own agendas and who unfortunately seem only too ready to make unfortunate allegations and accusations".

That says it all Mary, who the heck is he talking about ???
 
'The process worked'...you've got to be kidding. Still no insight into the involvement of certain lawyers...and the fact the Police Board abdicated its responsibility.

Bizarre.
 
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Golly gee, 7:11, I just can't imagine who he's talking about. But it's a paragraph worth copying. Here's that particular part of the Police Commissioner's statement. Dirk Ryneveld wrote:

...this case has for me reinforced the central importance of the Police Complaint Commissioner being an independent officer of the Legislature. That independence allows the Commissioner to act in a fashion that is objective and independent not only of the government, but also of certain private persons of influence who have their own agendas and who unfortunately seem only too ready to make unfortunate allegations and accusations ...


On second thought, maybe I can guess who it might be. And I've thought for quite a while that this person should have been asked some questions and perhaps held accountable for the mischief and expense caused.

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The expense seems unbelievable in the report, thousands of hours, in pursuit of personal or hidden agendas. Somebody should be held accountable for this. Mayor Lowe bears some of the blame and those who engineered this fiasco.
 
Gee! Are you talking about Gerald Hartwig and his Liberal friend David Mulroney? Or is it the very small disgruntled SENIOR OFFICERS in the VICPD?
 
BC Mary, as it was in one of your other articles, Gerald Hartwig had a very very close "relationship" with one of the Senior Officers of the VICPD! Doesn't Mayor Alan Lowe also have a close relationship with Gerald Hartwig?
 
Our senior officers have told us they weren't involved in this so somebody really is lying. The Chief has moved to Kelowna and is doing really well, officers stop by to see him quite often. Morale will be really bad after this, lying to us isn't going to go over okay. More are going to quit unless they make a major change in senior management. A new mayor would be good too. What a mess.
 
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I don't think so, 7:59. The only relationship I knew about was Gerald Hartwig's professional relationship with his lawyer, David Mulroney.

Don't know anything about a "relationship" with one of the senior officers of VicPD.

Frankly, I can't even imagine it.

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Anonymous 8:04,

Thank you for this.

It's great to hear that Paul Battershill is living and presumably working in Kelowna. And that he is doing well.

I imagine that a a lot of frayed nerve endings go with the policeman's life, so trying to avoid friction must be a steady occupational hazard.

The public seems very quick to jump all over the police, too, so cops catch it coming and going. Is that a fair guess?

So is VicPD very different from most other Police Departments in B.C.?

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Vic PD is different because we have gone from one of the lowest rates of officers quitting to one of the highest rates, all in the past 6 months. Great new LEADERSHIP !
 
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Gol darn it, why aren't these things better known?

So VicPD was one of the best. Then came the complaints. The investigation(s). The worry and speculation. And 6 months later, VicPD is one of the worst for officer dissatisfaction.

I just don't know what to say, 8:37, except that I'm very, very sorry.

Thank you for sharing that information with us.

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BC Mary,
After reading all the comments you can thank MAYOR ALAN LOWE and the rest of the Police Board for allowing this to happen!
 
I think this needs to be said, right here and now......

In my opinion, this case would not have received the extent of MSM coverage that it has if it had not been for the work of Mary and the Anon-O-Mice here.

You pushed them folks.

And as a result you made the system work better.

Not perfect, but better.

Thanks.

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It still isn't clear what's happened here. It sounds like only one thing was found and it was a reprimand relating to a perception. The palace coup seems obvious now and there are "private persons of considerable influence only too anxious to make unfortunate allegations". The "system" doesn't seem to have worked at all really. I guess I'm missing something.
 
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Wow.

Thanks back to you, RossK at Pacific Gazette.

And who do we thank for showing us how it's done? You, of course.

You never said we had to do it your way. You just said "Do it!"

The Anon-Y-mice on this blog are amazingly good, in my view.

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If the man who could lie his face off thus not only perjure himself, but show such disrespect for Parliament, can wind up with a cozy sinecure with INTERPOL - perhaps Chief Battershill should wind up as head investigator of the World Court.
 
Kootcoot, it sounds like he was the only one who told the truth actually !
 
Anon at 10:15,

I consider Chief Battershill more innocent/honourable than the lying Jackassarelli that used to be leader of the Royal Canadian Mounted Taser Wielders. I also would consider a position with the World Court more respectable and thus actually higher ranking than one with INTERPOL.
 
Buzz around the station is that there will be another media story tomorrow. It should push the membership over the edge as we all know who is behind it again. A small group of people have taken over the department. They are furious that the RCMP and Rynveld didn't do what they wanted. Sick people...
 
LET IT GO EVERYONE... BATTERSHILL
MADE HIS BED, HE SLEPT IN IT, NOW
LET IT GO. JAMIE GRAHAM WILL BE A
GOOD INFLUENCE AND LEADER. FORGET HIS PAST AS WELL. A LOT OF TIME IS SPENT ON BLAME & GUILT IN VICTORIA, BC!!! LIFE IS WAY TOO SHORT FOR NEGATIVE VIEWS AND MUDSLINGING... THIS IS A HARD JOB! TRY TO WORK 12 HOUR SHIFTS AND DEAL WITH REPEAT OFFENDERS WEEK AFTER WEEK... THINK ABOUT IT, JOHN Q. PUBLIC!!! COMMON MAN/WOMAN... POLICING IS ROUGH!
 
LAW ENFORCEMENT IS ONE OF THOSE CAREER CHOICES WHICH YOU HAVE IT OR YOU DON'T. SOME PEOPLE ARE SOCIAL, CONTROLLING AT TIMES AND HAVE GOOD CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS. THIS MAKES A GREAT OFFICER- MAN OR WOMAN... INNER ISSUES IN A DEPARTMENT MUST BE KEPT AT A MINIMUM FOR PUBLIC TRUST. THIS JOB IS FOR DEDICATED
FOLKS WITH NERVES OF STEEL AND A
TOLERANT ATTITUDE AT TIMES. BATTERSHILL HAD HIS CHANCE, HE DID WHAT HE DID AND THE LOCAL VICTORIA PAPERS SHOULD MOVE ON.
I FEEL THAT GRAHAM WILL DO A DAMN
FINE JOB IF HE IS OPEN TO SUGGESTION FROM HIS STAFF & MGT.
EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION ON WHAT'S
GOING ON! HAPPY FIVE YR TERM, JAMIE GRAHAM... THINGS WILL TURN AROUND SOON. {STREET DISORDER AND
INNER ISSUES AT 850 CALEDONIA AVE} NO ONE SAID IT WOULD BE EASY!!! BEST OF LUCK, OFFICERS IN BLUE...
 
THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR
BEING INDEPENDANT FROM DRUGS & ALCOHOL. LIFE COPING SKILLS ARE A
MUST BY AGE 19. THEN THE POLICE WON'T BE IN YOUR FACE. JUST SAY "HI" AND MOVE ON... CRIME DOES NOT PAY... A GOOD UNION JOB DOES. CONAIR PROGRAM ROCKS... MCF
 
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Twit. Nobody ever said on this blog that policing is easy.

Yes, we've been trying to figure out what happened at VicPD but not a word has been written about blame or guilt.

We've stood up for Paul Battershill. You think that's bad or something?

Nobody has been slinging mud.

Where do you get off, saying this?

Seems to me you're not exactly a soothing influence.

You think about it, Constable: you've gone back in time to 3 months ago, you rake up old stuff, you misinterpret it, you throw a lot of negativity around IN BLOCK LETTERS WHICH IS THE SAME AS YELLING ... and then, for cryin' out loud, you accuse this pro-Battershill web-site of all these harmful things ...

I've never been hit with a truncheon but I don't think I like it much.

Come back soon but be rational. Read this blog and then be fair and we'll talk. OK?

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1:56, 2:18, 2:22:

There was a time-lag between your first message (to which I replied) and the other two messages (which I hadn't seen).

Now that I've seen them, however, I dunno ... what the heck are you talking about with "MCF" and "Conair Program Rocks?" and how a good cop must be this and that, but not the other, according to you.

I can't see much point in trying to respond to your LATEST COMMENTS. So I'll just say Hi and move on.

[Choke ...]

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