Paul Kennedy to oversee review of misconduct at police college run by RCMP
Outspoken former chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to be independent observer
After seven years away from the RCMP file, Paul Kennedy is back.
The RCMP has selected Kennedy, former RCMP complaints commissioner, to act as an independent observer of the Mounties' review of misconduct at the Canadian Police College explosives training unit in Ottawa.
In light of a CBC News report about nudity, unwanted sexual touching, aggressive bullying and harassment among RCMP employees at the unit, Commissioner Bob Paulson has ordered has a full review of everything that occurred.
NDP MP Murray Rankin was among several politicians who raised concerns about the appropriateness of Mounties once again investigating themselves. Paulson has sought to calm those concerns by seeking an independent observer to "come in and validate our work and make sure there is no bias."
- Allegations of sexual touching, bullying at police college
- Latest RCMP harassment allegations 'an embarassment', Goodale says
- Culture of bullying, harassment at root of allegations, Paulson says
Kennedy is no wallflower when it comes to oversight of the RCMP. As chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (known today as the RCMP's Civilian Review and Complaints Commission), Kennedy often clashed with the national police force and the previous Conservative government.
Former Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan announced he would not re-appoint Kennedy for another term immediately before the release of a damning report into the conduct of RCMP officers involved in the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport.
Yet Paulson's office told CBC News that Kennedy's "expertise, history of independent review and frankness" are ideal for the task at hand.
The review of the explosives training unit will investigate new allegations of misconduct and harassment as well as broader allegations about management decisions that led to a toxic workplace, staffing and concerns about safety on the range where college instructors trained bomb technicians.
"We're going to have this multidisciplinary team that's composed of HR (human resources) experts, of discipline experts, of conduct experts, overseen by an independent observer who will ask all these questions, timeline all these decisions," Paulson told a committee of MPs this week.
He added the team will also be tasked with, "Making sure the victims and the complainants are properly attended to."
The team will also include Assistant Commissioner Steve White, former commanding officer for the RCMP in Ontario who was recently promoted to be the Mounties' associate chief human resources officer.