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