An independent consultant has been hired to review the policies, practices and procedures of the New Brunswick Police Commission, the Department of Public Safety said Monday.
Alphonse MacNeil, a retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner, will report to the government by this summer, said Minister Carl Urquhart.
The commission’s board requested the review in January to “maintain public confidence” in the independent watchdog charged with protecting the public interest in policing.
MacNeil, who reviewed the fatal Moncton Mounted Police shooting, “has earned the respect of the public, government and the police community through his commitment to integrity and his work as a leader and expert in matter, ”Urquhart said in a statement.
His examination of the 2014 shooting that claimed the lives of three officers from the Codiac Regional RCMP and injured two others, has 64 recommendations.
The request for independent review by the police commission comes after a change at the bar. Former general manager Steve Roberge has been replaced by Jennifer Smith.
Roberge’s departure, effective January 2, came less than a week after the association representing municipal police requested its withdrawal, calling him a “dictator” who is “anti-police”.
The New Brunswick Police Association has long been critical of the way the commission, under the leadership of Roberge, manages investigations under the Police Police Act.
This includes an investigation into the conduct of former Saint John Deputy Police Chief Glen McCloskey in the first murder trial of Dennis Oland.
During Oland’s trial in 2015 linked to the death of his father, Richard Oland, another officer accused the senior officer to encourage him not to reveal that McCloskey had entered the bloody crime scene.
The retired sergeant. Mike King repeated the allegation during Oland’s second degree murder retrial earlier this year.
McCloskey twice denied the allegation under oath.
Commission-appointed investigator Barry MacKnight concluded in December 2016 that McCloskey made false statements at Oland’s first trial and the Halifax police, who exonerated McCloskey of criminal wrongdoing.
McCloskey, whose retirement last April preceded an arbitration hearing, is now in court the New Brunswick Police Commission and Roberge for alleged negligence.
He accuses them of not having conducted the investigation without bias, of having deliberately adopted illegal behavior in the exercise of their public office and of having violated public confidence.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The defense briefs have not yet been filed.
McCloskey is also application for judicial review of the commission’s investigation. In documents filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench, he alleges that the commission acted in bad faith and that he was “denied natural justice because of a lack of procedural fairness.”
Advice to fully cooperate
The board of the commission said it will cooperate fully with the independent consultant’s review and is “committed to continually reviewing how it provides quality services to citizens and the police community and fulfills its mandate with integrity and impartiality ”.
MacNeil’s 180-page report of the Moncton RCMP shooting on June 4, 2014 called on the National Police to take immediate action to better arm their officers, including the accelerated deployment of patrol rifles and better training.
He discovered that the officers who responded were over-armed, that they had to rely on shotguns and pistols, while Justin Bourque was armed with a high-powered rifle.
Patrol rifles – short-barreled guns with a longer and more precise range than a handgun or shotgun – would have made a difference, MacNeil said.
Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, and Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, was shot dead in the attack. Const. Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Const. Marie Darlene Goguen were injured.