Suspended Victoria Police Chief Frank Elsner has stepped down from his job amid a lengthy investigation into his alleged misconduct, according to the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board.
The board announced in a news release that “the employment relationship between Mr. Frank Elsner and the Board has been concluded by Mr. Elsner.”
Elsner will no longer receive a salary or other employment benefits effective immediately, it said.
“A few days ago we received a letter from the chief’s lawyer saying that he considered his employment to be at an end, based on the fact that he didn’t feel we had indemnified him as per his contract,” said Victoria Mayor and Police Board Lead Co-Chair Lisa Helps.
Helps said the board will meet early next week to determine its next steps in appointing a new police chief for the department.
Elsner’s lawyer provided a statement on his behalf confirming he was stepping away from the force.
“We can confirm that Frank Elsner has elected to end his employment with Victoria Police Board. He believes it is in the best interest of the community of Victoria for him to step aside,” said lawyer Janet Winteringham.
The head of Victoria’s police union, Glen Shiels also issued a statement saying the union was “pleased that the Department is able to move forward with hiring a new Chief Constable, however the OPCC process continues and we cannot comment further as it remains an open and active investigation.”
Elsner had been suspended with pay from his role for more than a year as he faced misconduct allegations relating to his 2015 admission that he sent inappropriate Twitter DMs to the wife of a subordinate officer.
In March, retired judge Carol Baird Ellan, who reviewed the investigation into Elsner’s conduct, ruled that he should face disciplinary hearings for exchanging the “sexually charged” messages, providing misleading information to a member under his command as well as an investigator, using police equipment for purposes unrelated to his job and trying to procure a false or misleading statement from a potential witness.
Allegations unrelated to the Twitter DMs that Elsner engaged in unwanted physical contact with a female VicPD staff member were also allowed to proceed to a disciplinary hearing, as well as charges that he made unwelcome remarks of a sexual nature “that could reasonably be seen to objectify female staff members.”
Last month, Elsner was successful in petitioning the court to reopen the case, delaying the disciplinary hearings.
Deputy Police Complaint Commissioner Rollie Woods said Elsner stepping down will have no bearing on the disciplinary hearings, which will still go ahead.