The Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board are attempting to obtain an order from the court to get access to files related to the investigation into Victoria’s suspended police chief.
The board met Monday morning, asking the Police Complaint Commissioner to provide them with a copy of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner’s (OPCC) final investigation report into Chief Frank Elsner, as well as its discipline authorities decisions, which include whether the OPCC found each allegation to be substantiated, and the range of disciplinary or corrective measures being considered in the case.
“As Chief Elsner’s employer, the board must have this information in order to make informed decisions on behalf of taxpayers,” said Victoria Mayor and lead police board co-chair Lisa Helps.
“The chief is our employee. We cannot make decisions about confidence in the chief, suspension without pay, or any other decisions, without information. We have been kept in the dark which has limited our ability to make informed decisions.”
The drama began in August 2015 when the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board launched an internal investigation after a concern was brought to their attention regarding private Twitter messages exchanged between Elsner and the wife (a female officer from the Saanich Police Department) of an officer under his command. An independent lawyer investigated the matter and concluded there was no inappropriate relationship, but there was an inappropriate use of direct messaging and social media.
Last week, a pair of retired judges reviewing the investigation found there’s sufficient evidence to send six allegations of discreditable conduct to a pair of discipline proceedings, along with one allegation of inappropriate use of department equipment and one allegation of deceit.