Victoria police chief responds to Elsner report, says there is ‘work to do’ at the department

Victoria police chief responds to Elsner report, says there is 'work to do' at the department
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Victoria Police Chief Del Manak says there is still “work to do” following a report that stated former chief Frank Elsner committed eight acts of misconduct under the Police Act while in office.

In during a press conference on Friday, Chief Const. Del Manak said senior managers in the department will be working with union leaders to identify and address all workplace issues that made Elsner’s actions possible.

“While there is a sense of relief and closure, now that this formal process is over, we have some work to do at the Victoria Police Department,” Manak said.

Manak said he and others at the department are asking how the behaviour could have occurred, whether enough was done to identify the behaviour and take action, and what can be done to prevent similar behaviour in the future.

“The behaviour that was described in the final report is simply unacceptable in the workplace,” Manak said.

“I can tell you that inappropriate behaviour, sexual harassment, bullying and engaging in any misleading actions will not be tolerated at the Victoria Police Department.”

He said many brave and ethical people in the police department came forward about Elsner.

Manak said some recent examples showed the department is committed to a healthier work environment, including mandatory anti-bullying and harassment training and ethics courses and a diversity and inclusion executive committee.

“I want ongoing assessments of our work environment. I want them to be done confirming that there’s proper mechanisms in place for people to come forward if they have any concerns,” Manak said.

Manak’s press conference came two days after B.C. Police Complaint Commissioner Stan Lowe’s report was released. According to Lowe, Elsner was caught in a “web of untruths,” which started when the former chief sent inappropriate Twitter messages to the wife of an officer in his department.

The report also stated Elsner minimized the inappropriate comments, had unwanted physical contact with two female officers, made inappropriate sexual remarks to another, lied to investigators and misused department equipment.

Elsner resigned last May but Lowe said his police record will state he faces a 30-day suspension and was required to take training for harassment and sensitivity in connection with unwanted contact with a female officer.

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