In my Souper Bowl post I shared my experience of a very enjoyable lunch with Victoria Police Chief, Frank Elsner. When I found out he was married, that was the end of it for me. We had a legitimate connection and I loved the time we spent in conversation but I excused myself from the table and moved on.
I was so disappointed and saddened tonight when my friend texted me to say that my police chief friend was in trouble for inappropriate conduct with the wife of a Victoria Police officer. He told me it was all over the news. My heart honestly broke. I immediately thought of his wife and the one daughter that lives in Victoria, the same age as my youngest daughter.
I texted my close friend right away who is married to a Victoria Police officer to see if it was true. She confirmed it. I jokingly asked if she was the wife in question. More seriously I asked her if she had any inclination that Frank was a dog because after I told her about my interaction with him at lunch she clearly didn’t feel the same way I felt about him. I remembered that she had been spot on about my husband regarding his behaviour at our Christmas party, just 2 months before I found out about his affair. She told me she just found out about all of this and has only had a handful of interactions with the chief but “sometimes you just get a sense about someone.”
Sure enough, Global BC reported tonight that “Victoria’s police chief admits he is ashamed and humiliated by his own conduct. An internal Police board investigation has determined Frank Elsner exchanged inappropriate messages with the wife of a subordinate officer. Despite that, the civilian board is standing by the chief even as questions have surfaced about the nature of the board’s investigation of the entire affair.”
Frank came on the television and said, “This was a momentary lapse of judgement and again I, I (yes he stuttered) sincerely and fully take full responsibility for but I am really sorry for. It was really stupid.” For the intelligent man I had met and know him to be by his degrees and success, he did sound really stupid.
My thought then was that he should lose his job. He has to have lost all respect and confidence as the leader of a 200 plus police force and by the public. Why should the police officer of the wife he was inappropriate with have to answer to him. I know of a special task force officer who lost his job from this same police force for sleeping with another special task force officer’s wife. This is a job where trust of your coworkers can mean life or death. Confidence, trust and respect of your police chief for the public is paramount, too.
Apparently, Frank was contacting, via Twitter, a female, who is a member of another police force and is married to a Victoria police department officer. We have several municipality police departments around Victoria with separate police and RCMP as well. A physical relationship was implied but Frank denies any relationship.
Frank said that he brought the situation to the attention of his wife. He claims it is a personal matter and it does not affect his employment or his ability to lead this organization.
The board was trying to keep it all confidential because they support the chief and what he has done for Victoria and because two families have been “very affected” and “broken up over this.”
I am just sad. It seems personal to me.
Frank indicated: “This doesn’t meet the standard that is expected of me, or that I expect from myself,” he says. “This will never happen again…It’s over, it’s done with, and the matter is complete.”
I suspect that is very much what Frank wishes. My experience is that this is only the beginning. Certainly between he and his wife, his relationship with his daughters, the public, his police force, regulatory board, city council, coworkers, etc. the matter is definitely not complete. It will be a mark on his character for the rest of his life.