OPINION: Cool heads in short supply at Centennial Beach

I’m loathe to draw any conclusions about the altercation between two women at Centennial Beach last month until all investigations are complete, but the one obvious takeaway from the incident that’s generated considerable media attention is that cooler heads should have prevailed.

I know I’m running the risk of offending some by devoting more ink to a story that some believe has already been overblown, but there’s no getting around the fact it involved the wife of Delta’s police chief and, like it or not, someone in her position is held to a certain standard.

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Regardless of what might or might not have happened on that late Saturday afternoon in early June, it’s clear to me the Delta Police Department should have handed the file over to another policing jurisdiction immediately because even if the DPD did the investigation by the book, and it contends that was the case, it’s impossible to avoid the optics on this one given the complaint involved the chief’s wife.

A separate police agency wouldn’t have had that kind of baggage, which could be well what the Vancouver Police Department concludes after being assigned to investigate by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

As far as that initial investigation goes, the deputy chief said the department went above and beyond its usual practices, yet the complainant says she wasn’t even interviewed, which would suggest the probe might not have been as comprehensive as advertised. Having said that, the DPD has been most transparent when a member of the force has been the subject of an investigation, including last summer when a high ranking officer was found to have had inappropriate sexual communications with a potential recruit.

This is not a department that circles the wagons or brushes things under the rug, so it will be interesting to see what the Surrey RCMP investigation determines took place on both sides of the Dubords’ fence in Boundary Bay.

What we do know is what should have been a cordial exchange between a property owner and a lost beach goer devolved into something that has cast a shadow on an entire department. I trust that outside agencies will soon get to the bottom of this and take whatever action is necessary.

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