A group of 13 employees of the Calgary Police Service say they suffered bullying and harassment, and filed formal complaints to the Chief on Tuesday.

Jen Magnus led the charge by trying to resign at a Calgary Police Commission meeting last month, and said the culture in the service protects abusers and penalizes complainants.

“I had tried repeatedly to seek help from my supervisors and the union and no one was helping me so as another option this is what I had to do. I mean, it was a last ditch effort to get someone to listen in the Calgary Police Service,” she said. “There’s definitely a culture of harassment and bullying.”

Magnus said she won’t return to the service, and continues to struggle with what she went through.

“It’s very painful to talk about. I’m trying to heal, physically and psychologically, and I’d prefer not to delve into the exact issues,” she said. “I never expected this to happen but if I can help at least one person then I’ve done my job and absolutely, if what I’m doing helps anybody in any occupation then I’m happy with that.”

The lawyer for the complainants said many employees do not feel supported by the service or the Police Association in making complaints.

“Typically these individuals are the tip of the iceberg and there are many, many more who are experiencing it but are simply putting their heads down or are afraid to speak up,” said Rachel West, lead counsel for the complainants. “Most victims do not report their concerns in any formal way for fear of retaliation and damage to their careers.”

Chief Chaffin said on Tuesday that the service is doing its best to respond to the allegations and create a more healthy work environment, and committed to having an external investigator look into the matter.

“It’s actually a really good opportunity for us. I think this is the first really big, positive development we’ve had on this story, the ability to get to the table and to start working through specific allegations is a really good step for us to start to create the organization that we’re trying to here,” he said

There are men and women in the group of complainants who are either sworn officers or civilian members.