Tough times for Oak Bay police dept.

Organizational reviews, human rights complaint ongoing

Oak Bay police department is in the hot seat as it faces external reviews of its operations and structure and a discrimination complaint against two of its senior officers.

Deputy Chief Kent Thom and Sgt. Ray Maxwell, as well as the Oak Bay police board, are named in a complaint lodged with the British Columbia Human Rights tribunal by fellow officer Const. Jennifer Gibbs.

Gibbs, who was hired in early 2008, originally filed the complaint in October 2009.

In her complaint, Gibbs alleges several instances in which Thom singled her out for verbal reprimands based on her gender. She also alleges that Maxwell made comments to her about her abilities which would not have been made to a male police officer.

The complaint alleges that in a 2009 performance evaluation, Gibbs was told by Maxwell, her supervisor, that “she should keep her mouth shut.” Exactly what was being referred to isn’t clear. Gibbs also alleges she was passed over for a higher position in favour of a less experienced male officer.

Gibbs would not speak on the record about the complaint.

Thom said the tribunal process is confidential and he also could not comment on the complaint. Maxwell was unavailable for comment.

Maxwell was not included in the original complaint, but was added last fall. In her reasons for that decision, tribunal member Marlene Tyshynski wrote that it was in the public interest to add him as a respondent “due to the degree of personal culpability that characterizes the allegations against him …”

A hearing date for the case has not yet been scheduled.

A nine-member body of human rights lawyers appointed by the lieutenant governor, the tribunal rules on official complaints and can enforce its recommendations through the B.C. Human Rights Code.

Oak Bay Police Department is also currently the subject of a two-part external review of its structure and operations.

The police board called for an operational review to be headed by retired provincial court judge Alan Filmer. He will interview all Oak Bay police staff and look at promotion policy, policy manuals, workloads and officer complaints in general.

In addition, the judge will look at overtime. The department spent $171,159 on overtime expenses in 2010, well over its budget of $125,499. Filmer is expected to file his report to the police board by Feb. 15.

In addition, an organizational review is being done by the RCMP. After seven years of contracting out services to Saanich police, the department’s structure needs examining, Oak Bay Mayor and police board chair Christopher Causton said. The RCMP review was expected by today (Feb. 4).

As for the discrimination complaint, Causton said the board is encouraging the department and Gibbs to resolve their differences with mediation.

“Everyone knows in human rights complaints there are no winners,” he said, adding that reputations are at stake. “The organization loses, the complainant loses, everyone loses.”

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read