Two weeks ago, I reported on the case of a sudden death in the family of the former Commanding Officer of “E” Division RCMP Craig Callens.
The circumstances raised a number of questions, specifically if the civilian oversight organization in B.C. the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) was notified and called in to conduct an independent investigation?
Callens’ wife Joanne was a still serving member at the time, and under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, a serving police officer at the scene of a sudden death would have been obligated to contact the IIO.
I contacted the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO Ron MacDonald with several questions raised by members of the RCMP who felt the Callens family was receiving special treatment not available to the rest of members in B.C.
Within a day, I was advised the IIO had not been involved and yes, if the circumstances were as stated they should have been.
I am pleased to report that the IIO has since investigated what happened in this case and after a full investigation, they reported no impropriety existed and they were satisfied with its findings.
The IIO released a press release and sent me the following email message:
“Further to our conversations and emails, we have looked into the matter referred to in the attached release. The evidence demonstrates that in fact there was no on duty officer present when the incident occurred, nor was the firearm at the scene an RCMP issued weapon.
I appreciate you passing the information along to us because of the concern that this may have been a matter that should have required a referral from the RCMP. As noted in our release, we have confirmed that in fact this was not a matter requiring a referral.
This release will be published tomorrow morning.
Take care and thanks again.”
I am heartened that in this case, the system worked thanks to the prompt attention paid to this matter by the IIO. I can report to the rank and file members who raised their concerns that the matter was investigated thoroughly and nothing inappropriate was found.
While I am quick to criticize our national institutions when it appears they have done something inappropriate, I am also quick to report when they followed all appropriate procedures and laws.