BURNABY, B.C. — A Vancouver police sergeant who says he was Const. Nicole Chan’s friend and mentor has told a coroner’s inquest that Chan believed she would never return to work because human resource officers went to the hospital when she was apprehended under the Mental Health Act.
Sgt. Corey Bech has told the inquest into Chan’s death by suicide he spoke to Chan the night before she died.
He said Chan was anxious about workplace rumours and angry that a fellow officer with whom she had a relationship was able to keep his job while Chan thought she would lose hers.
A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of Chan’s family last year claims she died by suicide in January 2019 during a severe mental health crisis after being “extorted” by Sgt. David Van Patten to continue their sexual relationship.
Bech told the inquest that he believes the biggest systemic change the department could make would be mandatory mental health check-ins for all first responders.
He says the department has implemented mechanisms including increased peer support since Chan’s death in January 2019, but having health professionals check and document officers’ mental state “would be a good thing for the department.”
B.C.’s coroner says the point of the inquest is to determine the facts related to Chan’s death, make recommendations and ensure public confidence that the circumstances in the death won’t be overlooked, concealed or ignored.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.