British Columbia

New Independent Investigations Office head vows 'timely' results

The new civilian head of the province's Independent Investigations Office says he is focused on concluding cases in a manner that is as 'timely as possible.' Ron MacDonald was introduced as the head of the police watchdog organization on Thursday morning.

Ron MacDonald has been appointed to run B.C.'s civilian police watchdog

Ron MacDonald is named as the new civilian head of the Independent Investigations Office. (Richard Zussman/CBC News)

The new civilian head of the province's Independent Investigations Office says he is focused on concluding cases in a manner that is as 'timely as possible.' Ron MacDonald was introduced as the head of the police watchdog organization on Thursday morning. 

"There is no question that every investigation that an independent investigative unit like this does should be done as quickly a possible. But it also must be completed as thoroughly as possible." said MacDonald. "I understand that delays are difficult for everyone involved. The public, the police officer and the government. These need to be done as timely as possible."

MacDonald comes to B.C. from Nova Scotia where he held a similar role as director of the Serious Incident Response Team.

The IIO has come under pressure to speed up investigations. The independent body is responsible for investigating incidents involving police that resulted in serious injury or death. Some investigations have taken up to 18 months to complete. 

The memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the south Surrey RCMP detachment has been immaculately maintained by his friends and family. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

The IIO took 15 months to complete an investigation into the death of Hudson Brooks. The IIO says it took that long, because it was waiting for a key ballistics report to be completed.

Brooks was killed by police on July 18, 2015. There have been no charges laid in his death, nor have RCMP involved in his killing been cleared.. 

"I really hope the investigations going forward won't take 15 months. That they will give you information as a parents," said Jennifer Boroks, Hudson's mom. "You should know who it was, male or female, that shot your child and not sit there in agony and think how did this happen. 

The organization MacDonald takes over has been eternally dogged by problems.

Its former head, Richard Rosenthal, left four months earlier than expected. And in 2015, the IIO was investigated for allegations of bullying and harassment, supposedly due to the culture clash resulting from the hiring of former officers.

Seventeen investigators and five non-investigative staff left the IIO within its first 28 months of operation.

"British Columbians have trust in the police and their commitment to protecting our communities," said Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.

"The work of the IIO is critical to maintaining that public trust and police accountability through civilian oversight."