Friday, August 03, 2007

Long goodbye has worn thin

It's nice to see the Calgary Sun has finally realized their city's Chief Constable Jack Beaton is long past is Best By date. (With drugs and violence becoming the norm in the new Calgary, it's time to hit the road, Jack. Let us cut short this long goodbye)

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.

Leo Knight

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion it is long past time to give the men and women of Calgary Police Service what they deserve and this city is positioned to do just that with Jack's resignation.

Jack, your sychophants may be patting you on the back and rejoicing at your retirement party but the rest of us know and we hope you can live with yourself and your deeds. Those with more than one brain cell are very clear on what your true legacy is.

We are at a crossroads and the selection of the next Chief is critical to the morale and mental health of the people who give so much to us on a daily basis. It is time we looked after our own and ensured that every member's needs are met from beat cop to executive in a fair and equitable manner.

It will take years to undo the damage that has been done and I suspect those internal to our force have lost hope. We owe it to them to select wisely.

The next Chief, in my opinion, needs to come in and make sweeping changes ala Christine Silverberg. It's long past time to get CPS back to it's once reputable and respected form.

The CPA also demands strong leadership in it's mandate to take care of the needs of the members. With Koenig leaving that opens the playing field for a strong leader who maintains the best interest of the membership and will not falter based on politics and backroom deals.

It's also time to replace the Commission. Clearly it has failed miserably in keeping the Chief accountable and, in fact, has broken the law with it's implementation of the six month rule. McGiver was touted as the voice of reason and enforcer of all things right when he came in. A man of his word by reputation he's strangely silent given what he obviously knows or should know given his tenure on the Comission.

Apparently without ministerial intervention the Commission and Jack will never be held accountable for arrogantly breaking the law. I won't hold my breath that anybody is really listening.

Wilms has shown his true colours around his decisions and further with that ridiculously stupid grand-standing ploy with his scientific survey of leaning in squad cars. The voices of the men and women who participated in the CPA survey apparently were discounted not once but twice based on the lack of a scientific approach to surveying. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water.

This is a year for change with all the elections and potential changes that can arise from them. It is disheartening that out of 14 aldermen, nine have no competition including Burrows unless Koenig takes a run at that ward. Out of the frying pan into the fire... having said that my money is on Koenig. Leo is right, the Poodle must go! Here's your hat, what's your hurry. Tata for now.

There is a clear theme here, the golden dysfunctional string that binds all of these groups together, and that is complete lack of leadership perpetrated by self serving arrogant frauds complete with overt demands for self entitlement.

Call me skeptical and jaded but we live in a city of cover ups, public apathy and back room deals where the rules that apply to Joe Everyman don't apply to those in the public coffers. And with the same players making the same dysfunctional decisions on their platforms of 'in the best interest of the citizens' I don't hold out hope.

Prove me wrong ...

Anonymous said...

I cannot begin to tell you how sad it is to see the many outstanding sworn and civilian employees of the Calgary Police Service who have dedicated their lives to the Service fleeing this regime at alarming rates.

Most of those who have left have nothing good to say about the last 5 or 6 years. I'm glad to be gone from there. Under Deputy Hornby's watch, two senior women managers were run off the job - forced to resign because of terrible mistreatment. Someone needs to take a look at him. Under his command, the civilian area of CPS has deteriorated, abandoned call rates and sickness and accident rates among the employees have skyrocketed. Out with the old leadership - the sooner the better! In with the new!

Signed
Resigned after 28+ years of service!

Anonymous said...

From your lips to God's ears ...

Anonymous said...

This week in Calgary is the annual Chiefs of Police Conference, the citizens of Calgary are out over $600,000 not to mention the lost man hours/cost to have the whole drill team and the clo's to act as glorified security guards.

Once again our Police Commission has failed to do it's job, instead of controlling spending they allow tax payer dollars to be thrown away.

Further examples... recruiting trip to China , where jack was surprised to learn they speak chinese...candidates recruited ? none!

recruiting trip to U.K. hired? 9

Now CPS is giving members $1,000 for refering someone who is hired, not with my tax dollars!

Back to the Chiefs conference, wonder haw many rental vehicles and drivers the taxpayers are paying for?

Why is the media so mute?

Anonymous said...

In regards to these issues surrounding CPS and the so-called "leadership" of Jack Beaton and company, one has to wonder about a few things.

1) First, since it seems to have been determined beyond any doubt that Beaton has been a complete failure as Chief (and whose honesty and ethics in office appear to be well below the minimum standards), why is it then that the Calgary Police Commission has kept renewing Jack's contract for 7 years? Surely, the Commission cannot deny the multitude of internal problems within CPS; some of which include allegations of corruption and mismanagement. These things are documented everywhere and, in some cases, previously sent to the CPC long before they gained any media attention or ended up on any websites. Why and how did Jack keep his job all of this time?

One also has to wonder, given the current sky-rocketting crime rate in Calgary and the plummetting resources (in terms of frontline police personnel being available to protect the public) to combat the growing criminal trends - how is it that the local politicians are not being more critical of Beaton in his handling of law enforcement issues? Surely, pursuing gang members, drug dealers, junkies, carjackers and robbers - are more worthy of the allocation of fiscal resources of the CPS, than publically funded witch-hunts of cops who try to blow the whistle on internal criminal conduct? Do concerned political types not have a duty to their constituents to do so?

And yet, the Calgary Police Commission and City Hall ignore these facts?

Even though the Commission can attempt to argue that it "cannot interfere with the day to day operations of the Police Service" and can't do anything about such issues -it actually CAN do a few things under certain circumstances. The Commission could have asked for an outside investigator to look at many things that were brought to its attention under Jack's reign. They had the lawful authority under the Alberta Police Act to do so. Especially for issues such as the Kirk MacCallum fraud (why no internal Police Act investigation or charges?) and subsequent treatment of his victims; the Carl Desantis drunk-driving scandal from 2004; the issues surrounding the websites and use of public money and abuse of process/power; the handling of the results of the Brian Hanson inquiry; The Darren Beatty tragedy; the handling of the infamous Elbow Drive raid and subsequent appearance of cover-up to protect certain members; the taxpayer funded recruiting trip to China; need I go on???

The Commission (in particular, Sandy Durrant and Ian Wilms) had several options and opportunites to make many of these things right. They had the power to do so. Yet, they did not. Instead, they allowed Jack and others to continue down a very wayward path that is quickly becoming muddier and muddier.

Yet the Commission still preaches that Beaton has done a fabulous job (despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary) and that Beaton has the Commission's full support. If the Commission actually believes this rhetoric, then they are incompetent. If they believe opposite to what they have publically stated, then they are liars. Which one is it?

I hope that the search for the new Chief produces a product that will ensure rapid and sweeping change. The "old boys" on the 9th floor have to go. Several middle managers need to get their walking papers.

Above all, there needs to be a cleaning-of-the-house in terms of the internal culture of CPS. No more "special protection" of persons who contribute to, or get money from Ponzi schemes. No more workplace bullying of junior members. No more administrative "games" played on officers who are down on their luck, or trying to blow the whistle on internal problems. These things must be stopped!

However, I am not holding my breath. The "long goodbye" is probably going to remain long, painful and embarassing to the City. But, then again, maybe if the media, the public, and a few cops, paid more attention to some of the things said on websites and blogs - and raised their voices a little bit - maybe, we might begin to see some positive change.

Anonymous said...

Well if the latest rumour is true the next Chief of Police in Calgary will be no other then Harvey Cenaiko, a retired CPS Insp. as well as former Sol.Gen of Alberta.

If this is the case then it is proof positive that the old boy network at the Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Police Commission is alive and well.

Anonymous said...

Calgary just announced Rick Hanson as Chief!...now lets see who we get ..a strong broom to clean up or a lamb........

Anonymous said...

I admit it, I'm in shock. It appears that the right decision was made in the selection of the new Chief and I am overjoyed! I didn't think Silly Hall or the Commission had it in them.

Certainly, with elections a month away there had to be some consideration of that process but nonetheless prima faecia they appear to have gotten it right.

Chief Hanson is known as a cop's cop, an empathetic and fair listener and a man who allows those who are competent to manage without interference, among his many reported management talents.

Jack is leaving as anticipated early (at the end of the month) under the guise of "as needed advisor" sitting with the Commission. Read that as "We have to pay you out so we have to say you actually fulfill a purpose". It can't come soon enough. I'm sure Madeline King is sipping champagne as I write this. Once one of his champions, she wasted no time in coming out against him as elections drew near. Better late than never I suppose!

I watched Jack closely in the media announcement last night and his body language said it all. He was stiff, his jaw clenched, his face wooden and despite being the first to applaud on the announcement it was far too loud and incongruous in my opinion. It felt forced and political. It did not go without notice that Chief Hanson shook the hands of Wilms and Bronconnier but that Jack made no effort as the fourth person at the podium.

Run to your renovationed church, Jack, Calgary has spoken loudly and clearly. You will not be missed but we wish you well from a great distance.

Now, with elections October 15th we can only hope Burrows goes the way of the dodo. Either way he leaves the Commission the end of October and with luck an Alderman with honour and integrity will replace him.

McIver will win his election, no doubt. As the senior Alderman, we also hope he pulls up his socks, stops with the transparent Commission political rhetoric and party line crap currently eroding his previous credibility and works to clean up that system and ingrain the integrity that is sadly missing.

We can only hope that Wilms is offered an unrefusable position somewhere in Iraq and beats a hasty retreat. Don't hold your breath!

Here's to a potentially reinvigorated and re-energized police service. It will take time but at least we have hope!

Anonymous said...

I somewhat applaud the City of Calgary for finally coming to it's senses and ending Jack Beaton's long goodbye. Finally, the most hated and despised Chief in Canadian law enforcement has been given the boot -earlier, rather than later.

I'm not sure what to think of Rick Hanson yet. But, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The important thing is, JACK IS GONZO! Jack Beaton should have been gone 3-4 years ago; and that is a testament to the incompetence of the Calgary Police Commission.

However, as a final insult, Jack Beaton is getting a huge pension and a large buyout package. Compliments of Calgarian's tax dollars. I fail to see how this cash was actually earned.

The Jack Beaton legacy is a very tarnished one. It is filled with ugliness, corrupt practices and a profound moral disconnect. We have witnessed persecution and wrongful prosecution of officers and civilian members that is comparable to a 3rd world dictatorship. But, of all of the crimes that Beaton has committed in his statutory office, the worst were the breaches of public trust - in the way in which Jack used public tax dollars to fund his abuses of process (the "Standfirm" website civil actions, QB actions and internal investigations/ tribunals); and the use of police resources to conduct personal witch-hunts of his internal/external "enemies".

No doubt, the incoming Chief will have several messes to clean up over the next year. If Hanson is astute, the first thing he should do is give Dean Young, Jim Hornby and Peter Davidson their walking papers! Then, we will have a good first step taken in cleaning up the "old boys club", and repairing past malfeasances.

Still a lot of work to do and a long way to go. There are A LOT of ammends that need to be made. But, definately a step in the right direction. Lets hope it lasts for a while.

Good ridance, Jack.

Signed,

A Disgruntled Vet

Anonymous said...

Could not have said it better myself!