Calgary police chief says civilian members have been fired for 'bad behaviour'
Sworn members facing disciplinary action fall under the Police Act and its disciplinary regime which is handled through an independent presider from the Justice and Solicitor General’s office
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Civilian members of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) have been dismissed over allegations of harassment, according to Calgary’s chief constable.
The organization is in the middle of reforming its HR system after workplace culture issues within the service were brought to light, such as bullying, sexual harassment, harassment and human resource practices.
“We’ve had some people who have suffered the consequences of their bad behaviour,” Chaffin told Metro in an interview on Wednesday, but did not elaborate about how many, or when they were let go from the service.
“This is not being put under the carpet – when people have done egregiously bad things to another person here, they are held to account, and not in a trivialized way,” the chief said, adding all allegations are thoroughly investigated.
All sworn officers facing disciplinary action fall under the Police Act and its disciplinary regime, Chaffin explained.
“The regime for the sworn officers isn't like in the U.S. where you can simply make that decision to fire somebody,” he said. “For civilian employees, that decision can be made much quicker and can be made at the discretion of the employer – in this case, the chief.”
Earlier this year, 13 current and former CPS members filed formal complaints against the force, including Jen Magnus, a 14-year-veteran of the service who publicly resigned at a Calgary Police Commission (CPC) meeting in January, and Marlene Hope, who served for 26 years.
Hope told Metro she was encouraged to hear there have been serious consequences for what she called serious offences.
“We hope the Police Act does not stand in the way of those consequences being extended to sworn members who have been found to have committed similar infractions,” Hope said.
“We still maintain that independent oversight must occur … we feel these changes only came about because they were forced to, the CPC and citizens of Calgary need to continue to ask the hard questions of the (CPS) executives to ensure transparency.”
Dr. Kelly Sundberg, associate professor in the department of justice studies at Mount Royal University, said it’s a good sign that the CPS is taking the allegations seriously.
“It says harassment isn’t tolerated and whenever they are able to take action, they do, and I think that’s a very positive indicator,” Sundberg told Metro.
“The consequences (for sworn members) can be quite significant under the police act, more than just losing their job – they could be penalized in many forms,” he added. “But it takes time …(the chief) has no choice in the process.”