Former VicPD Chief Constable Frank Elsner - Image: Victoria Police

The Time Colonist reported today that the Victoria police board has spent $602,444 on legal fees and a pair of investigations into former police chief Frank Elsner.

That figure doesn’t include Elsner’s legal expenses, which were withheld due to solicitor-client privilege. However, when Elsner resigned in May he reportedly did so because the board wasn’t adequately covering his legal fees.

Before his resignation, Elsner had been suspended with pay — $205,000 a year plus benefits — since April 2016.

Breakdown of the numbers:

  • The total spent by the Victoria Police Board, not counting Elsner’s legal fees = $602,444
  • That $602,444 was comprised of:
    • $303,050 on lawyers.
    • $77,468 for an internal investigation conducted by lawyer Patricia Gallivan, which resulted in a letter of reprimand being placed on Elsner’s file.
    • $222,444 on an external investigation handled by RCMP Chief Supt. Sean Bourrie and the Vancouver police.

Basic Elsner Controversy Timeline:

  • August 2015, concerns emerge around Elsner sending inappropriate Twitter messages to a female Saanich officer.
  • December 7, 2015, Elsner publicly acknowledges the messages and apologizes.
  • December 18, 2015, The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner says the initial investigation was inadequate and begins a new one, as well as a probe of harassment allegations. Elsner goes on paid leave.
  • March 15, 2016, Elsner files a petition to stop the investigations to the BC Supreme Court
  • April 29, 2016, Elsner is suspended with pay. Three more allegations are made against him, including procuring a statement from a potential witness knowing it to be false or misleading, requesting that a potential witness destroy electronic data, and trying to access a department server to erase or try to erase emails.
  • November 2016, the BC Supreme Court hears Elsner’s petition to end the OPCC investigation over four days.
  • April 12, 2017,  B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson ends the Twitter message investigation, saying the ordering of an external investigation by police complaint commissioner Stan Lowe was an abuse of process.
  • May 18, 2017, Elsner resigns from his position as Police Chief
  • June 13, 2017, The police board appoints Del Manak Police Chief after serving as acting chief for the duration of Elsner’s suspension.

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