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.