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News Release

September 18, 2017

In June, we asked the public to provide their opinions in a survey designed to measure the public’s understanding of our work as well as the public’s familiarity with certain specific responsibilities the Commission has with respect to oversight of police discipline and adequacy of policing in New Brunswick.

We have carefully considered the responses received and note that one of the key issues identified by the public and recently championed by the media is the desire for openness and transparency. While we are independent of Government, the Commission must nonetheless follow the legislation and regulations enacted by the Legislature respecting policing and privacy. One of these laws, the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, binds the Commission and prevents the disclosure of personal information unless permissible under that Act. As with any public servant, the investigation into a disciplinary/corrective matter involving a police officer has been determined to not be sufficient reason for disclosure of such information. However, there are certain aspects of the disciplinary process that can be made public. To this end, we have developed and implemented an online dashboard of all complaints filed with the Commission.

The public can view the dashboard on the Commission’s website at http://www.nbpolicecommission.ca/index.php/en/file-status (English) or http://www.nbpolicecommission.ca/index.php/fr/etat-des-plaintes (French). Simply type in a specific complaint file number or select “view all complaint files” to show all currently outstanding complaint files as well as all closed files from the current fiscal year. The dashboard will identify the regional or municipal police force the complaint is against, the type of complaint, and the current status.

We have also added process maps to our website to assist the public in understanding the steps involved in the processing of a conduct complaint against a police officer or chief of police as well as complaints related to the services and/or the policies of a police force. These process maps can be found under the “Complaints” section of the website.

Comments or inquiries regarding these initiatives can be directed to 1-888-389-1777 or .

June 22, 2017

One of the key issues the Commission is currently researching and fine tuning is that of public accountability. A constant concern is establishing a balance between the privacy interests of the police officer subject to a Police Act disciplinary process and the public interest in transparent investigations and the civilian oversight of the policing process. For the public to have confidence in policing and police oversight, justice must not only be done, but also seen to be done.

However the first step in addressing the accountability theme is gauging the public’s understanding of the role and responsibilities of the New Brunswick Police Commission. To this end, the Commission has developed a survey to measure the public’s understanding of our work as well as the public’s familiarity with certain specific responsibilities the Commission has with respect to oversight of police discipline and adequacy of policing in New Brunswick.

As such, this survey can now be found and completed on the Commission’s website at http://survey.nbpc-cpnb.com in English or http://sondage.nbpc-cpnb.com in French. On June 24th, 2017 the Commission will be advertising the location of the survey within print media. Individuals without internet access can contact the Commission at 1-888-389-1777 and request a mailed copy of the survey.


April 10, 2017

On December 3, 2015 the New Brunswick Police Commission received a complaint from Chief Eugene Poitras of the Bathurst Police Force alleging misconduct on the part of two Bathurst police officers. These officers were implicated in an incident that resulted in the death of Mr. Michel Vienneau. Though authority for ensuring the officers’ accountability under the Police Act rests with the Chief of Police, Chief Poitras requested that the Commission exercise its statutory ability to assume the Police Act disciplinary process against the two members from the Chief of Police. The Commission agreed to assume the matter with the understanding that all costs for the investigation and Police Act proceedings would be equally shared between the Commission and the City of Bathurst. A written agreement to that effect was immediately provided to the civic authority for formal endorsement which, to this date, has not been provided. Unfortunately Mayor Fongemie and the Bathurst City council have advised the Commission that they are not prepared to endorse the agreement, thus returning authority and full costs for the disciplinary process to the Chief of Police.

As such, the New Brunswick Police Commission will be exercising our oversight responsibilities in ensuring that the Chief of the Bathurst Police Force exercises his obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct Regulation - Police Act once all criminal proceedings against the two subject officers is completed.


October 3, 2016

The New Brunswick Police Commission, an independent oversight body, investigates and resolves citizens' complaints relating to the conduct of police officers. It also oversees other aspects of policing, including local police force adequacy in New Brunswick. Created under the Police Act, it is currently composed of five Commissioners from across New Brunswick, appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

The New Brunswick Police Commission was pleased to represent the public interest in a consultation process held by the Minister of New Brunswick’s Department of Justice and Public Safety to help guide the modernization of the Police Act.

Beginning in June 2013, the Commission conducted a detailed review of the Police Act, which identified 31 significant deficiencies. Using an open and public process, the Commission worked with municipal partners and chiefs of police, to recommend adjustments to the Act.

These adjustments are designed to serve the public interest in areas such as disciplinary processes and police officer accountability, as well as ensuring public confidence in New Brunswick policing services. This analysis has been available to the public on the Commission website since September 2015. We are pleased that the Department of Justice and Public Safety chose to use the Commission’s research as the primary discussion document in the consultation process.

We feel strongly that the public interest should be the driving force behind changes to the Police Act. Recent events in Canada and abroad have served to underscore the importance of robust independent civilian oversight to our communities. Strong, independent, and vigilant police oversight is essential to maintaining trust in policing in New Brunswick.

The Commission recognizes the difficult task faced by the Minister in meeting the divergent expectations of the public interest, special interest groups, and government administrators engaged on this issue. The Commission seeks an approach to modernizing the Act that is evidence-based, objective, and rational.

The Commission looks forward to further discussion with the Minister as consultations conclude and he contemplates changes to the Legislation.


 June 16, 2016

The New Brunswick Police Commission will be participating in the Police Act revisions round table meeting on June 22-24, 2016. You can access our LIVE Twitter updates at: 

https://twitter.com/NBPoliceCommisn


March 17, 2016

On March 17, 2016 the Commission members met with Chief Candace Paul and the council of the St. Mary’s (Wolastogey) First Nation. This meeting was an opportunity for the Commission to present our role and responsibilities and answer any questions council and the chief had on the obligations of the Commission under the Police Act. Also in attendance at the Commission’s invitation was Chief Leanne Fitch of the Fredericton Police Force.

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Photo 1: Traditional tobacco (red willow) gift presented to St. Mary’s First Nation

 
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Photo 2:

 

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Photo 3: New Brunswick Police Commission members and staff, left to right: David Emerson (acting first Vice Chair, Steve Roberge (Executive Director and CEO), France Levesque-Ouellette (member), Ron Cormier (Chair), Pauline Philibert (Associate Director), Réjean Michaud (acting second Vice Chair), Lisa-Marie Walton (Administrative Assistant and Intake Officer)

 

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Photo 4: Chief Candace Paul (St. Mary’s First Nation), Pauline Philibert and Chief Leanne Fitch (Fredericton Police Force)
 
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Photo 5: Ron Cormier presents a gift of traditional tobacco to Chief Paul

 

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Photo 6: Steve Roberge presented the role and responsibilities of the Commission to the Chief and Band Council
 
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Photo 7: David Emerson and Tony Gabriel (Band Councillor)

February 29, 2016

On January 7, 2016 the Commission assumed a public complaint received by the Fredericton Civic Authority against Chief Leanne Fitch of the Fredericton Police Force. The complainant, who was in attendance at the Wu Center for Constable Campbell’s arbitration hearing on December 16, 2015, alleged that Chief Fitch’s comportment towards him at the hearing amounted to discreditable conduct.  The complainant was not a witness at the Campbell hearing.

The Commission subsequently appointed Mr. Tim Quigley, a former commanding officer of the RCMP in New Brunswick, who investigated the allegations against Chief Fitch. None of the allegations were sustained.


February 22, 2016 - Position Paper

Enclosed is the New Brunswick Police Commission’s revised position paper with respect to the changes sought to thePolice Act. There is now a collateral issue at page 11 requiring consideration. Significant changes have also been made to the preamble as well. 

pdfIssue_index_Feb._22_2016.pdf
pdfPOLICE_ACT_REVIEW_-_Position_Paper_2016_February_22_FINAL.pdf


February 4, 2016 - Adequacy Project

Pursuant to Section 20 of the New Brunswick Police Act, the Commission may assess the adequacy of each police force in New Brunswick and whether each municipality and the Province is discharging its responsibility for the maintenance of an adequate level of policing.

Over the past year we have heard much about the current reduction in Canadian crime rates and the resulting public discourse with respect to the adequate number of police resources required. While the New Brunswick Police Act does attempt to address civilian oversight of the adequacy of policing, no clear definition of what is an adequate police service or what elements would constitute an adequate level of policing is articulated in the Act.

As such, in 2015 the New Brunswick Police Commission, in partnership with the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network and recently with the Minister of Public Safety, undertook a research and engagement initiative to develop a resourcing methodology that would encompass the attributes and nuances of New Brunswick society resulting in a collaborative definition of adequate policing.

The project will see the implementation of a three part engagement process in 2016 seeking input from a number of key stakeholders such as academics, civic authorities, police chiefs and elected police unions to obtain clarity on the definition of adequacy.

The first session will include researchers working in a variety of disciplines including Sociology, Criminology, Demography, Economics, Political Science, Law, Social Work and Geography.  Although they will be refined, examples of potential questions that will be asked will include: 

  • What do you think needs to be in a police adequacy equation/determination?
  • How would you recognize a well-policed community?
  • How would you identify a safe community?
  • What would be required to create such a community?

At the conclusion of all three engagement exercises, the Commission will be provided with a report detailing the work undertaken and the conclusions of what validated demographic, geographical, crime statistics and other social/economic characteristics should be combined to define policing adequacy in New Brunswick. Funding for this endeavour is being provided by the New Brunswick Police Commission and the delivery of the engagement exercises is being orchestrated by the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network.

pdfAdequacy of Policing project Feb. 3, 2016.pdf

Media Contacts:
Nick Scott
Executive Director, New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network
506-453-6507

Steve Roberge
Executive Director and CEO, New Brunswick Police Commission
506-453-2069


January 29, 2016 - Suspension into Oland Investigation

With the recent filing of an appeal of the Dennis Oland conviction, which includes an alternative request for a new trial, the New Brunswick Police Commission has elected to suspend its examination of the Saint John Police Force’s investigation of this matter. We wish to ensure that a Commission investigation does not affect or impact the ongoing criminal proceedings. It is the Commission’s intention to resume the investigation at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings. 


January 18, 2016

Several months ago in 2015 it was widely reported that a member of the Executive of the New Brunswick Police Association was the subject of a criminal investigation for alleged misappropriation of funds from the Police Association. In early January 2016, statements were made by a representative of the New Brunswick Police Association Executive, Bob Davidson, criticizing the New Brunswick Police Commission and the procedures for Code of Conduct investigations and arbitrations under the terms of the Police Act.

The Commission was contacted by numerous media to comment on Mr. Davidson’s statements. In declining to comment, Steve Roberge, the Commission’s Executive Director, referred to an ongoing criminal investigation and intended to refer only to the one ongoing investigation referred to above. Any part of the statements to the media by Mr. Roberge and any inference from those statements that the ongoing criminal investigation is about the current Executive of the New Brunswick Police Association or any of its current Executive members, including Mr. Davidson, is false, incorrect, and untrue. To the knowledge of the Commission, the only ongoing criminal investigation is respecting a person who was a member of the Police Association Executive in 2015 and not any present member of the Police Association Executive.

The Commission and its Executive Director, Steve Roberge, unreservedly retract all such statements and inferences and apologize to the New Brunswick Police Association and each of its current Executive members for all incorrect statements or references that the Executive itself or any of its current Executive members are the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. That is not true. To the knowledge of the Commission, the only ongoing criminal investigation is of a person who was a member of the Police Association Executive in 2015 but is now not a member of the Executive.

The Commission and its Executive Director, Steve Roberge, will not be commenting further on this matter until the conclusion of the ongoing criminal investigation of the former member of the New Brunswick Police Association Executive.

Steve Roberge
Executive Director
New Brunswick Police Commission

Ronald Cormier
Chairperson
New Brunswick Police Commission


January 6, 2016

Chief Fitch and her representative, Mr. Eddy, presented a compelling case for the arbitrator’s consideration. We were reassured that the Chief sought Cst. Campbell’s termination and are mindful that due process in any matter, whether criminal or of a quasi-judicial nature, such as a Police Act arbitrations, will result in decisions that reflect the independence of the arbitrators.

The arbitrator’s decision can be found on our website at:
http://www.nbpolicecommission.ca/site/en/decisions/arbitration-hearings


December 22, 2015 - Review of Oland investigation

Under authority of paragraph 22(4)(c) of the Police Act, the New Brunswick Police Commission is mandated to investigate any matter relating to any aspect of the policing of any area of the Province.

At the request of the Chair of the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners, the New Brunswick Police Commission will be appointing an investigator to review the Saint John Police force investigation of the Richard Oland murder. Once completed, the results and any recommendations will be advanced to the Minister of Public Safety for consideration.


November 19, 2015

The New Brunswick Police Commission is responsible for the investigation and determination of complaints by any person relating to the conduct of a member of a municipal or regional police force within the province of New Brunswick.

At the request of the Chief of the Bathurst Police Force, in consideration of the public interest and pursuant to the authorities of the Police Act, the Commission has assumed the processing of a conduct complaint made by the Chief against two members of the Bathurst Police implicated in the death of Mr. Michel Vienneau.

Consequently the Commission has appointed Judith K. Begley to investigate the allegations.

Ms. Begley is a highly qualified independent investigator with a broad range of experience in a variety of sectors. Ms. Begley is a partner at Begley Lordon, a Moncton, NB law firm.

Given the criminal complaint against these members, the Commission will suspend the processing of the conduct complaint until the completion of the criminal proceedings.

Updates will be available online at www.nbpolicecommission.ca/site/en/news


October 26, 2015

The New Brunswick Police Commission is responsible for the investigation and determination of complaints by any person relating to the conduct of a member of a municipal or regional police force within the province of New Brunswick.

As the result of a complaint from Cst. Jeff Smiley of the Fredericton Police Force against Chief Leanne Fitch and seven other members of the Fredericton Police Force alleging various contraventions of the New Brunswick Police Act, an investigation was undertaken by the New Brunswick Police Commission. The investigation established that none of these members conducted themselves in an inappropriate manner and none of the allegations raised by Cst. Smiley were sustained.


September 28, 2015 - NB Police Commission's position paper

Enclosed is the New Brunswick Police Commission’s position paper with respect to the changes sought to the Police Act.

pdfPosition Paper.pdf
pdfIssue_index.pdf


August 27, 2015 - Follow up to Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch's news release

Policing is a profession, and as such, the profession should, and does, require more from its members than is expected from the general community. The general public also expects more from police officers, as these officers are entrusted with a duty to protect the public and enforce the law and are provided with specialized tools and powers to do so.

The alleged criminal conduct we are witnessing of late by a very small segment of the Fredericton Police Force is, if substantiated through the disciplinary process, a humiliation to their profession and a breach of the public’s trust. It undermines the great accomplishments of this police force, the heroics of individuals such as Cpl. Doyle and the generally high standard of professional conduct displayed by these police officers on a daily basis.

Police officers cannot successfully fulfill their mandates without public trust: that trust must be earned through ongoing, consistent, professional conduct.


June 17, 2015 

The New Brunswick Police Commission is responsible for the investigation and determination of complaints by any person relating to the conduct of a member of a municipal or regional police force within the province of New Brunswick. 

At the request of the Chief of the Fredericton Police, in consideration of the public interest and pursuant to the authorities of the Police Act, the Commission has assumed the processing of a conduct complaint made by the Chief against a member of the Fredericton Police Force who is currently suspended with pay. The allegations in the complaint center on the misappropriation of funds from the New Brunswick Police Association (NBPA), a lobby group for police officers in the province. The NBPA has publicly stated its intention to lodge a criminal complaint against the individual who is a member of their Executive and when this occurs, the Commission will suspend the processing of the conduct complaint until the completion of the criminal investigation.

Updates will be available online at www.nbpolicecommission.ca/site/en/news


On February 9, 2015 members of the New Brunswick Police Commission (the Commission) hosted a function with senior management of the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force, members of the Kennebecasis Regional Joint Board of Police Commissioners and members of the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners.

It was an opportunity for us to answer any questions those groups had on the role and obligations of the Commission as well as their role and obligations under the Police Act.

On February 10, 2015 Chief Stephen McIntyre of the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force graciously made a boardroom available to the Commission to host our first meeting of 2015. The Commission is very grateful to the Chief for allowing us the opportunity to hold our meeting in the beautiful Kennebecasis valley.

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Photo: Steve Roberge, Chief McIntyre (Kennebecasis Regional Police Force), Ronald Cormier, Robert M. Stoney, Pauline Philibert, Réjean Michaud, David Emerson and Marilyne Ferguson-Mallet. 

Bathurst Shooting

February 16, 2015

The New Brunswick Police Commission is responsible for the investigation and determination of complaints by any person relating to the conduct of a member of a municipal or regional police force within the province of New Brunswick.

The Commission has not received any complaint with respect to the comportment of police officers during the Bathurst incident nor is any New Brunswick Police Act investigation currently underway.


PTSD Seminar - January 19, 2015

The Commission recognizes that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is becoming more and more prevalent and diagnosed in first responders especialy given the increased awareness resulting from the deployment and return of our military colleagues from international conflict zones. Several cases have been acknowledged in the New Brunswick law enforcement community this year alone along with other occurrences across the nation. The New Brunswick Police Commission has undertaken to champion the awareness of PTSD in law enforcement given our national mandate to do so within the Canadian Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement and our provincial mandate to ensure adequacy of policing.

Consequently the Commission funded and arranged to have Dr. Jeff Morley, a Registered Psychologist from Richmond, BC, former RCMP member and PTSD specialist attend Crandall University on January 19, 2015, in Moncton, NB where he provided an overview of a new national Psychologically Healthy Workplace Standard, offered some teaching on primary and secondary trauma and PTSD, and concluded with personal and organizational resilience - what police organizations can do to minimize PTSD and foster resilience in officers.

Many of New Brunswick’s Police Forces were represented as well as law enforcement’s numerous partners such as Sheriffs, Coroners, Corrections, Fire Marshall, Amherst Police Department, New Brunswick Funeral Directors Association, Victim Services, Probation and the Atlantic Police Academy.

The afternoon segment of the seminar revolved around a joint presentation by Dr. Julie Devlin, Mental Health manager at the Operational Stress Injury Clinic in Fredericton and Sergeant Liane Vail of the New Brunswick RCMP’s Health Services. This presentation introduced the attendees to the RCMP’s Return to Mental Readiness program, a series of four modules developed around the identification of mental health and illness, stress reaction, resiliency skills and internal and external resources available in maintaining well being.

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Photo 1: Dr. Jeff Morley
 
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Photo 2: Dr. Jeff Morley and Mr. Robert Stoney, Acting Chair, NB Police Commission

 

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Photo 3: Sgt. Liane Vail and Mr. Ron Cormier, Acting Vice Chair, NB Police Commission
 
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Photo 4: Sgt. Liane Vail

 

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Photo 5: General Audience
 
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Photo 6: Dr. Julie Devlin and Mr. Ronald Cormier, Acting Vice Chair, NB Police Commission

 

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Photo 7: Dr. Jeff Morley
 

 April 10, 2017
  • Edit

On December 3, 2015 the New Brunswick Police Commission received a complaint from Chief Eugene Poitras of the Bathurst Police Force alleging misconduct on the part of two Bathurst police officers. These officers were implicated in an incident that resulted in the death of Mr. Michel Vienneau. Though authority for ensuring the officers’ accountability under the Police Act rests with the Chief of Police, Chief Poitras requested that the Commission exercise its statutory ability to assume the Police Act disciplinary process against the two members from the Chief of Police. The Commission agreed to assume the matter with the understanding that all costs for the investigation and Police Act proceedings would be equally shared between the Commission and the City of Bathurst. A written agreement to that effect was immediately provided to the civic authority for formal endorsement which, to this date, has not been provided. Unfortunately Mayor Fongemie and the Bathurst City council have advised the Commission that they are not prepared to endorse the agreement, thus returning authority and full costs for the disciplinary process to the Chief of Police.

As such, the New Brunswick Police Commission will be exercising our oversight responsibilities in ensuring that the Chief of the Bathurst Police Force exercises his obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct Regulation - Police Act once all criminal proceedings against the two subject officers is completed.