Richard Pootmans replaces Diane Colley-Urquhart on Calgary Police Commission

Coun. Richard Pootmans has been selected to sit on the Calgary Police Commission, following the sudden resignation by Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart last month.

Move comes as Calgary Police Service faces allegations of bullying, abuse and discrimination

Coun. Richard Pootmans has been selected to sit on the Calgary Police Commission, following Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart's sudden resignation last month. (CBC)

Coun. Richard Pootmans has been selected to sit on the Calgary Police Commission, following Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart's sudden resignation from the commission last month.

The Ward 6 councillor was selected during a closed-door meeting last Monday. The choice was kept secret until he passed a police background check.

Pootmans joins the commission as the Calgary Police Service faces allegations of bullying, abuse and discrimination against women in its ranks.

Addressing issues

"I think the police commission has a steady hand on the tiller," Pootmans told CBC News Tuesday evening. 

"They have a seven-point plan to address the issues of respectful workplace and make it far more suitable and equitable for women in particular, and I look forward to being part of that solution."

He said he hopes to bring an "action-oriented" voice to the role, "and a voice that understands how to move forward with issues." 

"Coun. Pootmans joins the commission at a time when we are actively engaged in working collaboratively with CPS to move forward on gender equity, use of force and community engagement," said commission chair Brian Thiessen in a news release.

"Coun. Pootmans brings a wealth of experience and sound judgment to this role and we look forward to welcoming him at our next meeting on March 28, and to gaining the insights he will bring."

Commission lost member in February

Colley-Urquhart quit the commission last month, a day after Thiessen said she may have violated the commission's code of conduct by speaking publicly against the Calgary Police Service for what she called a lack of action around allegations of bullying and harassment against women in its ranks. 

Thiessen told CBC News last month that the commission's code of conduct requires a mandatory review if members of the public complain about members of the commission.

After 13 members of the public complained about Colley-Urquhart's conduct, Thiessen said "an amicable approach" was taken and the issue was resolved informally. He said he was surprised and disappointed Colley-Urquhart quit the commission.

Colley-Urquhart went public with her concerns over the treatment of women in the force following dozens of private meetings with female officers who alleged they were bullied and harassed.

One of those women, Jen Magnus, publicly resigned from the force at a January police commission meeting.

Magnus is among a group of 14 current and former officers who filed a complaint with Chief Roger Chaffin last week, alleging CPS failed to provide a safe working environment amid a backdrop of bullying, abuse and discrimination.​