Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, British Columbia
January 25, 2010
Five more investigative analysts
join B.C.s Office of the
Police Complaint Commissioner
New recruits were chosen
to uphold the OPCCs standard
of honesty, integrity and accountability
VICTORIA Today five new investigative analysts begin work with British Columbias Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. In a welcoming ceremony this morning, police complaint commissioner Stan T. Lowe announced their names: Ian Upton, Bill Bentley, Gerry Rundel, Kwesi Millington and Benjamin Monty Robinson.
In keeping with OPCC policy, the new employees are all former police officers. Lowe is a former Crown attorney.
The OPCC oversees the complaint process for B.C.s municipal police. Despite their job title, OPCC investigative analysts do not investigate anything. They review police investigations into complaints against police.
Funding for one of the new employees came from a re-allocation of the OPCCs previous $1.974-million budget. The other four are funded from this years 58-per-cent budget increase of $1.14 million.
While announcing the OPCCs hiring decisions, Lowe addressed the question of whether a former Crown attorney and a staff of retired police officers are best qualified to review police internal investigations.
We have the right background, Lowe explained. Only people who are close to the police can maintain our standards of integrity. Except for cases that get advance media, advance support from an influential group or caught on video, our job is to confirm what the police find in their self-investigation that the police are 100-per-cent right and the complainant 100-per-cent wrong.
To arrive at that conclusion we have to misinterpret evidence, even misinterpret straightforward sections of the Criminal Code, Lowe said. We have to ignore evidence in the complainants favour and ignore some of the most important aspects of the complaint. Sometimes we have to smear the complainant. All that takes a special kind of loyalty, the loyalty you find in former Crown prosecutors like myself and former police officers like my staff.
Deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce M. Brown, for example, was an RCMP officer for 32 years. OPCC investigative analyst Rollie Woods used to head Vancouver Police Professional Standards, which investigates complaints against Vancouver officers.
Were glad to welcome Ian Upton, who also worked in VPD Professional Standards, said Lowe. Like Woods, Upton brings to us all the honesty and integrity of a Vancouver police self-investigation.
As for the other new guys, theyre a bit of a departure from our usual hiring policy, Lowe continued. Theyre former police officers, of course. But unlike the others around here, they werent already cronies of Bruce Brown and Rollie Woods. As Ive said in the past, however, Im a very big fan of the Dziekanski death squad.
Lowe was appointed police complaint commissioner in December 2008, one week after he took part in the Criminal Justice Branch decision to exonerate the four RCMP officers involved in Robert Dziekanskis death.
If those guys are as fast with a rubber stamp as they are with a Taser, theyll fit right in with the rest of my crew, Lowe added.
As police complaint commissioner, Lowe is an independent officer of the legislature. That means I answer to no one, he explained. Absolutely no one not the Ombudsperson, nor any cabinet minister, nor the legislature and sure as hell no ordinary citizen can hold me accountable. I face no watchdog, no review, no appeal, no checks and balances, no nothing. So whenever people accuse me of being a cop-friendly ex-Crown prosecutor who runs a retirement home for corrupt ex-cops, I just laugh and say: Yeah, but what are you going to do about it?