Chief Fitch stands by process that led to Fredericton officer's firing
Chief declines interview requests, makes a statement responding to dismissal, criticism of her leadership
Chief Leanne Fitch of the Fredericton Police Force has issued a statement about what she calls "troubling times" for the force, its members and the city.
It comes after the firing Wednesday of Const. Cherie Campbell after a Police Commission arbitrator's recommendation for her dismissal, and Campbell's subsequent accusation that the Fredericton police has a "poisoned leadership."
She was joined by the police union in her criticism.
Fitch has not faced interviews on the commission's most recent decision nor on the accusations about her leadership.
"We are committed to using interest-based processes to work with the union to address current and future issues," said the chief's statement. "That is a commitment of myself, management, and City Council."
"We are also committed to engaging in a thorough review of the NB Police Act — its structure and procedures — to ensure that it can deal more effectively with issues that may arise."
Chief says she supports officers
She went on to say, contrary to Campbell's allegations, she supports officers.
"I recognize that from time to time officers will find themselves in trouble, and we will support them, while also abiding by the processes laid out by law, and the Police Act."
Last month, a police commission arbitrator also recommended that Fredericton Police Const. Jeff Smiley be dismissed. Four other officers are currently facing investigations into their conduct. Two are suspended with pay, and two are restricted to desk duties.
The arbitrator's ruling regarding Campbell, recommending her dismissal, said that Campbell intentionally took $20-worth of makeup from Marden's Surplus & Salvage store in Houlton, Maine on Dec. 2, 2014.
It also said she used her position as a police officer to seek favourable treatment after her arrest.
Using a similar tone and wording to Fitch's statement, Woodside offered encouragement to members of the police force, and pledged support to Chief Fitch as well.
"As Mayor, I continue to be proud of the hardworking members of the Fredericton Police Force, and the difficult job they have to do every day," said Woodside's statement.
"These are challenging times, and we will get through them, by supporting our officers and our Chief."