Calgary police officer surprises meeting with public resignation
An otherwise routine Calgary Police Commission meeting was anything but on Tuesday after a female police officer stood up and began to read her resignation letter, spurred by years of sexual harassment and bullying.
Constable Jen Magnus spoke of ongoing workplace issues that plagued her during her career and she’s since been labelled as an outcast for coming out about the issues.
She choked back tears as she read her statement that took many of the attendees by surprise.
The CPS has been under close scrutiny ever since the results of a 2013 workplace review revealed a ‘toxic culture’ of harassment, intimidation and bullying.
Police Chief Roger Chaffin and Police Commission Chair Brian Thiessen both said that the officer’s concerns are the same ones they have been working on fixing for the past three years, but it will take time to do it.
Chaffin told the media following the meeting that he’d spoken with Magnus.
“That’s not the way that you would accept any letter of resignation from an employee,” he said. “You can see how emotionally charged she was and the difficulty in that presentation. We will wait some time and sort of circle back and talk to her about this.”
Thiessen said that his ‘heart broke’ when he heard the woman’s statement.
“As with all victims in these situations, she’s paying a hard price. She’s decided she can no longer work with the service and so she’s resigning. As I said, officers for years to come will benefit from the complaints she’s made and the issues she’s brought to light, but that’s probably of small comfort [to her].”
Tuesday’s meeting also focused on a change in the way that police officers handle vehicles during dangerous situations.
Half of the 10 shootings in 2016 took place when officers approached a suspect vehicle.
The CPS has now committed to changing their training and tactics around vehicle stops, but would not go into detail about what exactly has changed.
The report, released during the meeting, shows that shooting at the vehicles rarely disables them.
Another review on less lethal technology and tactics, used to stop and track vehicles, will be conducted and a report is due back in June.