For several years now I have been writing about the distinct lack of leadership by Beaton to the detriment of the citizens of Calgary and the good men and women of the Calgary Police Service. Oftentimes I have felt like a voice in the wilderness in trying to interest the so-called mainstream media despite a string of cases which showed the Service was in dire need of a real leader. (See All bluster and spin)
The crime situation in Calgary has gotten much worse under Beaton's watch. Never mind the increased violence that has accompanied the economic boomtimes, but look at the crackheads now prevalent downtown and in once-trendy parts of the Beltway. The Guardian Angels have now set up shop after its founder Curtis Sliwa took a much-publicized stroll through crack central.
Where was the Chief? A good question. He was busy conducting a witch hunt trying to find out which members of the Service had dared be critical of him with the authors of the now infamous websites Standfirm.biz and Code200.com, both now defunct. The result of that childish nonsense was that the cops in Cowtown were doing their level best to keep their heads down. Take the calls, do the job, but don't do anything which might remotely make one show up on Jack's radar lest one be thought of as a "witch."
Things were just starting to get back to what passed for normal in Beaton's regime, when Jack fell all over himself jumping to conclusions and he suspended two cops trying to actually fight the filth that now permeates that city. And he did so simply because some questionable video footage was broadcast by the media trying to make out that a local crackdealer was somehow the new Rodney King. Beaton hadn't even bothered to get the officers' side of the story before he clambered up on his soapbox to announce the summary suspensions. With that kind of support for the line staff, it's no wonder that he showed more than a 75% disapproval among members of the police service.
Despite the light speed suspension of two working cops, Beaton was positively glacial-like in dealing with allegations against a senior member of the service, a Staff Sergeant, who had been sued by a number of other police officers for defrauding them of almost a million dollars in a Ponzi scheme. That person was ultimately charged criminally despite Beaton's actions, not because of them.
Following a technical aquittal, and with the lawsuits still pending, Beaton restored the Staff Sergeant to full duty and then last month had the temerity to assign him to TAC - Calgary's Emergency Response Team or SWAT if you prefer - and the direct superior of an officer who lost over one hundred thousand dollars in the Ponzi scam and is one of the primary plaintiff's in the lawsuit. For the record, that Staff Sergeant has now declared bankruptcy to further ensure he doesn't see any type of justice for his actions.
Beaton's actions as Chief have been bizarre, questionable and sometimes downright dumb as he stumbled and bumbled his way pretending to be a leader of a modern police department with his poodle Alderman Craig Burrows at his side. But to deliberately allow the transfer of that Staff Sergeant and making him the direct report of one of his victims is pure, unadulterated arrogance. Or stupidity. Or incompetence. I am not sure which.
Beaton's long goobye has worn thin. He needs to go now. And for the good of the citizens of Calgary and a long-suffering police service, he should take his poodle with him.