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13 Calgary police officers to submit formal complaints about bullying at work

Last Updated Feb 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm PST

CALGARY – A group of Calgary Police Service employees plans to submit formal bullying and harassment complaints to the chief to push for changes they say are desperately needed.

Const. Jennifer Magnus, who publicly resigned at a Calgary Police Commission meeting last month, and 12 other employees say the culture of the service protects those who are involved in abusive behaviour in the workplace.

Now Magnus says she’s not resigning, because she hopes the complaints will change the culture at the police service.

Magnus told a Calgary radio show that she’s holding off on resigning until she speaks further with Chief Roger Chaffin.

The group says that in some cases complainants were told by their superiors that nothing would be done if they filed a grievance, while in others the police union advised some employees it would not take on blue-on-blue complaints.

Lawyer Rachel West says Magnus had a positive meeting with Chaffin last week, and says he’s committed to investigating the complaints.

“They cannot turn to the individual and say, ‘Look, if you make a complaint, your complaint not only will not be heard, nothing will happen and this is a career-limiting move, do you really want to do this?’ That can’t be the culture,” West said.

Magnus, a 14-year veteran of the force, broke down in tears at the Jan. 31 public Calgary Police Commission meeting over sexual harassment and bullying she says she faces on the job.

She tendered her resignation, and after her presentation, police Chief Roger Chaffin came over, put a hand on her shoulder, and said he would not accept it.

Magnus read from a statement outlining how she had decided to stand up for other members as well as civilian staff who were trying to seek “equality and justice.”

She and another officer went to former chief Rick Hanson with their concerns, which led to a human resources audit in 2013.

She said she thought the CPS would hear their concerns and complaints and act to remedy the problem, but instead she told the meeting she was “blamed and disliked for taking a stand for what was right.”

(CHQR)