Police psychologist recommends Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu as next RCMP boss

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      The top leadership of the infighting-wracked RCMP should be fired, renowned police psychologist Mike Webster suggested today (July 27).

      Webster, who has worked with the Mounties and other police forces, also urged the federal government to consider Vancouver police chief Jim Chu for the job as new RCMP commissioner.

      “I would throw Jim Chu’s name in the hat,” Webster told the Straight in a phone interview.

      The B.C.-based conflict resolution expert made these recommendations in the wake of media reports regarding the strife within the national police force.

      A group of senior executives has complained before federal leaders against the alleged abusive behavior of Comm. William Elliott, who was appointed in July 2007 as the first civilian to head the force.

      The CBC reported that there may be as many as 10 complainants, including deputy commissioners Tim Killam and Raf Souccar.

      According to Webster, one CBC commentator framed the conflict as one between a group of reformers and a commissioner interfering with their plans.

      However, Webster strongly disagreed with this characterization.

      “Well, it’s nothing like that,” the crisis management expert said. “This group is likely composed of what I call the sons of [former RCMP commissioner Giuliano] Zaccardelli. These officers are guilty of the same things that they’re accusing him [Elliott] of ”¦ abuse, insulting, I don’t remember them all”¦ arrogant, aggressive, temper tantrums.”

      In other words, “it’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black”, Webster said.

      Webster said that a new RCMP commissioner should have an extensive experience working with the community, and that Chu, who was appointed the chief constable of Vancouver in July 2007, fits the bill.

      He also said that Chu has consistently stepped up to the plate to address complaints of misconduct among his officers.

      Webster likewise noted that Vancouver’s top cop has worked with the police union, an experience that will come in handy as the need to unionize RCMP officers becomes more paramount.

      “He’s been with Vancouver since he was a constable,” Webster said. “I knew him when he was a constable. He’s a very ethical guy.”

      Chu, who was born in Shanghai and moved to B.C. at the age of three, joined the Vancouver police in 1979 as a constable. He was chief during the relatively problem-free Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

      Webster added that the top leadership in the RCMP should be “swept” clean, and an outsider brought in as commissioner.



      Sean Bickerton

      Jul 27, 2010 at 12:02pm

      Chief Constable Chu has done an extraordinary job in Vancouver, and improved community relations with the VPD tremendously throughout his tenure. While it may be true the RCMP could benefit from his exemplary leadership, we need him here in Vancouver.

      And there are still major goals for him to accomplish, including an intensive effort to interdict the guns flooding across our southern border into the welcoming arms of gangs headed in the same direction; increased efforts in preventive crime-reduction; and better incorporating badly needed mental health workers into tandem partnerships with beat-level cops to free highly trained and valuable police for their main mission.

      glen p robbins

      Jul 27, 2010 at 12:35pm

      Chu - may be a good candidate---------I wouldn't even consider him - if he doesn't get it precisely right on his cop pushing over that disabled woman on the downtown eastside.


      Jul 27, 2010 at 1:12pm

      Re: Billy Elliot's verbal abuse, this is about senior RCMP Officers who've spent years rising through the ranks in a traditionally para-military organization resenting the appointment of a civilian with no policing experience as commissioner - full stop.


      Jul 27, 2010 at 2:28pm

      I don't know the truth of the allegations, but the idea was to have a non-cop as oversight to rid the oldboy attitude. This would mean Chu is not for it.

      Its Nuts

      Jul 27, 2010 at 7:48pm

      How can you have someone doing oversight who isn't part of the force as oh boy is more like it? Chu, is all of the above and would be far better at commissioner than a novice on the job. And the VPD cop pushing over the disabled women reflects on the training as said it did with the RCMP and am wondering what is up with that and how Chu plans to deal with these very hot issues?

      glen p robbins

      Jul 27, 2010 at 8:18pm

      Fine, I'll bite: Who do the police 'dissidents' offer to replace the RCMP Comm?

      Both the current and former RCMP Comm - are described as autocratic.
      However, the former came through the ranks--the current from the outside (an issue) -

      It's my opinion that the former's demise really had to do with political and ethical scandal---

      I believe that the RCMP want one of their own---at the top--that might suggest a direction of protectionism-- when openness and transparency are the primary elements which ought to comprise Canada's national police force.

      I would like more information on this subject---British Columbian's are screaming for some institution--to act rationally---the RCMP have an opportunity to lead the way--in a manner consistent with the training they ought to receive-------------but that's theory-----only conjecture---all the news--suggests this theory is a bad one---this vignette may be the evidence---that the RCMP without drastic intervention--may never fully renew-- and worse yet-----continue to fall far short of public expectation.

      In this business -- no matter your history---it's all name label---there once was a time in this country--where RCMP---was the standard--------I was in many fights with RCMP members (off duty)---they are regular crazy people like us---but properly trained police----with knowledge of rules of conduct for professionalism--------need to have this better impressed at the training level---------better training--better money--better police----it's always--always about the people in the deal.

      A Change is a good as the rest

      Jul 28, 2010 at 11:27am

      Changes to the RCMP need to be made yesterday as the morale of the men and women must be low as looking at the numbers who have little faith in ability to do their job says those in charge need to be changed.
      I don't know what the proposed changes that where on the agenda but more will have to come to better reflect the needs of the officers who are the ones out their protecting the public or at least I hope so.
      Corruption trickles down so start with the top and work your way down while providing the officers with the support and manpower to do their job well. There are changes coming I am certain as there is a case before the courts with an mentally disturbed inmate in mind and Canada's treatment of such as reflects on the treatment of the disabled on Vancouver's streets.


      Jul 30, 2010 at 8:32am

      I'm not certain what qualifies Mike Webster to make recommendations as to who should be the next Commissioner of the RCMP. While Mr. Webster enjoys a very good reputation in police circles as a leading psychologist, he is just that - a psychologist. While he is certainly entitled to his opinion, making human resource recommendation is outside his area of expertise.


      Jul 31, 2010 at 1:24pm

      I trust dr. Mike Webster without any reservations. His opinion expressed at the Braidwood Inquiry has proven that too many bullies and pistoleros joined RCMP.
      They need sensitivity training. People like cpl. Robinson and Milligan should go to jail for a long time.
      Read: http://forum.canucks.com/topic/236669-open-letter-to-robert-dziekanskis-...
      Mark Jaworski Vancouver BC


      Aug 1, 2010 at 2:31pm

      I agree with most of your thoughts Glen, but as long as the RCMP is tethered to the government, there will be no real change. The Commissioner is a deputy minister, why? The answer is obvious. A civilian board of non government hacks should oversee the RCMP and its Commissioner. The review and complaint process should also be arms length from both the government and the RCMP. They should have the ability to recruit, hire and train the pick of the litter. No hiring "guidelines" courtesy of the ruling politicos such as they have suffered in the past. Mandatory hiring of "visible minorities" who do not have to meet the same standards show itself in instances like Monty Robinson. Trying to fulfill the government visions like "reflection of the cultural mosaic" should not be foisted upon the RCMP. Standards period. If you meet them, your in, if you meet the training standards, you become and officer. Simple as that. No political pandering or feel good policies.

      The sooner the organization is severed from the government of the day and handed to the citizens for oversight and accountability, the better.

      And as we all know, Webster loves Webster and he is still bitter because the RCMP did not pattern its psychological services according to his ideas.