Mayor voices sup­port for po­lice board, chief af­ter re­veal­ing emails go pub­lic

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY -

Mayor Jim Wat­son ex­pressed con­fi­dence in the po­lice board and chief of po­lice on Friday, a day af­ter the Cit­i­zen re­ported re­veal­ing emails about the de­ci­sion to ap­point a se­nior of­fi­cer to a tem­po­rary ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tion while the of­fi­cer is un­der OPP in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Emails be­tween po­lice board mem­bers sug­gest some of them didn’t know Supt. Chris Rheaume is one of three se­nior po­lice of­fi­cials un­der crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion when they ac­cepted his tem­po­rary pro­mo­tion to deputy chief in July un­der the ad­vice of Chief Charles Borde­leau. Rheaume acted as a deputy chief from July 22 to Aug. 13.

In one email, Coun. Allan Hub­ley said he was not aware Rheaume could face crim­i­nal charges when the board had talks about the pro­mo­tion.

“The point is that there re­mains a po­ten­tial for crim­i­nal charges which I for one un­der­stood had not ex­isted when we dis­cussed the pro­mo­tion. Of course ev­ery­one is as­sumed to be in­no­cent … but does that as­sump­tion also in­clude the priv­i­lege of be­ing pro­moted is the ques­tion I am left with now. In the end this comes down to judg­ment skills on the chief’s part and that will be for the board to keep in mind go­ing for­ward.”

The OPP probe is re­lated to le­gal dis­clo­sure in the case in­volv­ing a tac­ti­cal train­ing ex­plo­sion in Kanata that in­jured two of­fi­cers and three paramedics in the sum­mer of 2014.

Wat­son backed both the board and the chief on Friday.

“The board is in­de­pen­dent and they run their own business and it’s up to the board if they have con­cerns about any ac­tions any of­fi­cers or the chief are en­gaged in; they should be rais­ing it them­selves,” Wat­son said. “I con­tinue to have full con­fi­dence in the chair, the board, the chief. I think they have a tremen­dously dif­fi­cult job fac­ing changes every day and you see some of the chal­lenges that they’re up against, a tough job. I don’t think it’s help­ful for the mayor to mi­cro­man­age the po­lice ser­vice. I give them the free­dom to do their job and I’m con­fi­dent that they’re do­ing a good job for the peo­ple.”

Wat­son said the board is not be­holden to him and “they will push and prod the chief if they’re not happy with some­thing he’s done and I have con­fi­dence that that process works.” Cit­i­zen staff, with files from Shaamini Yog­a­ret­nam and Jon Will­ing

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