West Van Police Chief retires as department morale plunges
The chief of the West Vancouver Police Department is stepping down following the release of an employee satisfaction report that paints a disturbing picture of the department.
Chief Peter Lepine notified department staff in a memo Monday that he will retire from his post as of September 2014.
Allegations of bullying, misconduct and corruption have been swirling around the department for years, but Lepine insists the timing of his departure and the attention garnered by the employee satisfaction report is purely coincidental.
“The timing isn’t good in the sense of how the two stories are aligned,” he said during a news conference Monday. “My retirement has been a discussion I’ve had with the police board going on now for the better part of four months now.”
September 2014 would mark the chief’s 35th year as a police officer and the end of his five year contract as head of the West Vancouver department, according to Lepine.
The survey shows that between 2010 and 2013 West Vancouver police employees expressed increased dissatisfaction with their jobs as well as with senior leadership at the department.
It also shows a higher percentage of staff are actively looking for work with other organizations and the number of staff who say managers do not treat them with respect and dignity has more than doubled since 2010.
When pressed about the allegations of bullying and a culture of harassment the department, Lepine defended his record and said no one has come forward with specific allegations.
“It’s like shadow boxing. I can’t deal with the problem unless I have the information. In order for me to move forward, I need the specifics of the information so that I can conduct the appropriate investigations and deal with the issues,” he said.
Harassment in the work place is not tolerated under any circumstance and it would be dealt with immediately when a complaint is made, he added?