West Van police chief defends retirement after scathing employee satisfaction report
The same day a scathing review of the West Vancouver Police Department is made public, the city’s top cop Chief Const. Peter Lepine announces his retirement. (PHOTO WVPD.CA)
West Vancouver’s outgoing top cop said Monday his decision to retire had nothing to do with an employee satisfaction review that found half the force harbored “negative perceptions” of working there.
Chief Const. Peter Lepine said in a letter to police members he’ll be stepping down in September when his five-year contract ends.
However, the announcement came the same day a local newspaper published a scathing employee satisfaction report from November.
Coincidentally, Lepine said in his letter he had begun “having conversations” with his police board on a succession plan for the past three months.
He maintained his retirement coincides with his 35th year as an officer and it was “always” his intention to leave at that time.
One officer who spoke with 24 hours on the condition of anonymity said employee satisfaction has long been on the decline.
“It was low to begin with but this has gotten lower,” he said.
“The only thing that will solve any issues currently at the police department is if we were to become part of the Vancouver Police Department, or part of (a) regional police department.”
The officer said harassment is a problem at work, but pointed out claims of sexual harassment were “over-exaggerated.”
Meanwhile, the search for a new chief has begun, according to the force. It said in a statement crime rates in the wealthy municipality have remained low during Lepine’s time — he came into office in 2009 — and achieved high levels of public support.
West Van Mayor Michael Smith said Lepine saw the department “through a period of significant change.”
“We wish him well as he prepares to take on new challenges.”