Embattled Victoria Police Chief Frank Elsner has stepped down.
Elsner had already been suspended, and was facing investigation and possible disciplinary action over inappropriate tweets sent to a subordinate’s wife, and alleged attempts to obstruct a subsequent investigation.
In a statement, the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board says through his lawyer, Elsner “advised that he considers his employment relationship with the Police Board to be at an end.”
It says it concludes from this statement that Elsner has resigned, and that effective immediately he won’t recieve salary or employment benefits.
The statement adds the board will meet soon to determine the next steps regarding the appointment of a new chief.
A retired judge investigating complaints against Elsner suspended him from service with pay April of last year.
Back in March of 2017, a pair of retired judges reviewed 11 allegations against Elsner, and ruled he would face disciplinary hearings.
Rollie Woods with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner says this case is like nothing they’ve seen before.
“The legal wrangling is unprecedented. The number of petitions that have been filed and the amount of times that our office has had to go to court to justify the decisions that we’ve made along the way. Yeah, that’s unprecedented.”
Woods says the hearings and the court cases involving Elsner will continue.
“An allegation of deceit [and] several allegations of discreditable conduct related to workplace harassment. I believe there are still six matters that are before the two retired judges.”
That includes an appeal to have one of the most salacious allegations against him included in the hearing: inappropriate tweets directed at a subordinate officer’s wife.
Elsner also stands accused of workplace harassment, and later interfering with a subsequent investigation.
But last month, Elsner succeeded in having the investigation into his alleged misconduct reopened and extended, postponing the hearings.
He has also filed a pair of lawsuits in a bid to have the investigation quashed.
A long and expensive process
Meanwhile, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says despite Elsner stepping down as Chief, the Police Board dispute with him remains unresolved.
“This has been a long and tumultuous road for all of us, but particularly I think for the men and women at Victoria PD to be at this level of uncertainty for this long.”
She says she can’t comment any further since the matter is still ongoing.
“We are in an unresolved dispute with the former Chief, so to say what we are going to do and what we are not going to do in terms of going after this or that would not be in the best interest of anyone – particularly the taxpayers.”
Helps says once everything is resolved taxpayers will get a full accounting of what the whole process ended up costing.