Investigation into VPD officer could go to hearing, solicitor general says
An ongoing investigation into a Vancouver police officer over an alleged inappropriate relationship with a subordinate who took her own life could be coming to a hearing soon, says B.C.’s top cop.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told CTV News that an ongoing investigation will be at a disciplinary hearing by the end of the month.
“It’s a tragic situation and people want answers, and rightly so,” said Farnworth, adding that he has faith in the procedures that are in place.
“There is an ongoing investigation in one case. In the other that has been finished. I gather at the end of the month that disciplinary hearings start,” he said.
Const. Nicole Chan died in January, amid a battle with poor mental health and depression. But family members told CTV News that there were other factors at work causing her stress, including the drawn out nature of the investigations that followed relationships between Chan and two senior officers.
Chan reported the relationships to the Vancouver Police Department, and the force launched two internal investigations.
Documents say Sgt. Greg McCulloch received a 15-day citation for discreditable conduct for “entering into a relationship with Nicole knowing she was in a vulnerable state mentally and emotionally.”
Sgt. Van Patten is the subject of an ongoing investigation. Neither officer is commenting to CTV News about the case.
“She felt hopeless about the whole situation, and it made me feel obviously sad about it and there’s nothing I could do about it,” Nicole Chan’s sister, Jenn, said in an interview.
Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Jason Robillard said he couldn’t comment on the investigations themselves.
“Our entire organization has felt the impact of her untimely death and we’re continuing to offer support to our members,” he said.
The question of sexual harassment in police forces has been something the RCMP has dealt with for years, in cases from Catherine Galliford to Susan Gastaldo.
At a change of command ceremony in Surrey, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said the force is trying to turn the corner.
“We are revamping the way we deal with harassment,” she said. “If people don’t feel like they trust the system, they’re not going to bring their complaints forward. We have to get better on that.”
The hearing will not be open to the public.