West Vancouver police chief sworn in
Published Sunday, October 25, 2009 1:41PM PDT
Peter Lepine, a 30-year veteran with the RCMP, was sworn in Saturday as the chief constable of the West Vancouver Police Department.
He's the district's third police chief in three years.
In a speech following his swearing in, Lepine said not all public safety issues are policing issues and vowed to work with community, corporate and volunteer organizations.
He told officers that he would not stand in their way if they had new ideas.
"As Mahatma Ghandi would often say, 'There go my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.' As your chief, there are times when I need to stand clear out of your way so that you can have the freedom to try new ideas that potentially could be the next big strategy," he said.
Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones praised Lepine's dedication to reaching out to the community and approach to policing.
"He doesn't believe every problem is a policing problem," she said.
Lepine is taking over a department that has, at times, been dogged by controversy.
In 2006, Scott Armstrong was fired as chief after admitting that officers held drinking parties at the station.
Const. Lisa Alford was convicted of impaired driving after one get-together.
Sgt. Doug Bruce and Insp. Bob Fontaine were accused of mishandling the internal investigation into Alford's case. The two took medical leave.
Their disciplinary hearings were cancelled after they retired in 2008.
Bruce and Fontaine complained that they were unfairly targeted by then-Chief Kash Heed, who was hired to clean up the department. Heed is now B.C.'s solicitor general.
Lepine told CTV News Saturday that incidents like these are not unique to West Vancouver and exist in other departments, too.
"I think my philosophy is to put the past in the past, to focus on the future," he said.
But the trouble doesn't seem to be over.
B.C.'s police complaint commissioner is investigating Const. Mike Bruce. He's accused of forging a signature on a photo lineup during a robbery investigation.
Earlier this year, one officer was suspended for three days after he failed to attend a noise complaint at a Future Shop and then wrote a false report.
The officer lied when confronted about it. He later confessed when his police cruiser's Global Positioning System was analyzed.
"I will treat every case on its own merits, and I'll get the counsel of those who have experience in those areas to help me deal with any matters if they should happen like that in the future," Lepine said.
Lepine was raised in Quebec and joined the RCMP in 1980.
He has served on both coasts and was most recently commander of the Coquitlam detachment of the RCMP.
His wife, Lori, is a 17-year veteran of the RCMP.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington