UPDATED WITH FULL STORY: Embattled Victoria police chief resigns: police board


The suspended head of Victoria’s police department has resigned, according to the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board.

In a statement Thursday, the board said Elsner informed it through his counsel that he “considers his employment relationship with the Police Board to be at an end.” The board said it concluded that this means Elsner has resigned from his position as the chief constable of the Victoria Police Department.

Elsner will no longer receive a salary or other employment benefits.

Victoria’s mayor, and police board co-chair, Lisa Helps says the resignation letter indicates there are more legal challenges ahead.

“Based on the fact that he didn’t feel that we had indemnified him as per his contract,” says Helps.  “So he considered the contract to be at an end, we are in an unresolved dispute with the former chief.”

Suspended with pay since April of 2016, Elsner admitted in 2015 to sending inappropriate Twitter messages to the wife of one of his officers. It resulted in two separate investigations.

Rollie Woods, deputy police complaints commissioner of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) said they had not received any indication from Elsner or the board that Elsner was intending on resigning or retiring. 

“It was brand new information to us that I just received, probably at the same time as everyone else did through the media release,” Woods said. 

A final report in March by retired judge Carol Baird Ellan indicated discipline proceedings would go forward into allegations that Elsner exchanged “sexually charged” messages, used police equipment for purposes not related to his duties, provided misleading information to an investigator and encouraged a potential witness to make a false statement.

Ian Pitfield, another retired judge, found enough evidence for a hearing into allegations that Elsner “engaged in unwanted physical contact with female staff at the Victoria Police Department,” as well as made unwelcome remarks of a sexual nature and leered and inappropriately stared at female staff members.   

The police board said the statement it will meet soon to determine next steps for appointing a new police chief. 

Last month, Elsner successfully petitioned the court to reopen the case, which delayed the disciplinary hearings. 

Woods said the resignation does not change anything as former members can still participate in any proceedings. 

“Our intention is just to proceed as though he’s still a full participant in the police act proceedings,” Woods said. 

According to Woods, the commissioner will provide a report of the whole process after the disciplinary hearings are done. One is currently underway and is adjourned until June. The other hearing does not have a date. 

Frank Elsner

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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