‘Ottawa’ Deputy Chief Apologizes After Calling Ottawa Patrol Officers ‘Canine Fornicators’
The deputy chief in charge of frontline police deployment is apologizing to patrol officers for calling some of them “canine fornicators” during a presentation in November, the Citizen has learned.
Deputy Chief Jill Skinner’s public apology comes after a formal complaint was lodged on behalf of patrol officers when the comments were made during a Nov. 16 parade presentation on a new deployment model set to roll out in January that specifically affects all frontline officers. It also comes after the Citizen asked for comment on the statements.
Skinner is now in charge of frontline operations after previously overseeing criminal investigations — a move that came weeks before long-time operations Deputy Chief Ed Keeley took leave in advance of his pending retirement.
Skinner is also in charge of the force-wide overhaul called the service initiative that is a cost-cutting initiative attempting to change how the force works and serves the community.
She addressed patrol officers on Nov. 16 during parade, which occurs at the beginning of every shift and when officers get briefed on both short- and long-term matters of concern.
“During the presentation of the (service initiative) frontline deployment slide deck, to all assembled, Deputy Chief Jill Skinner, who was delivering the update from the Greenbank parade room, identified herself as the newly appointed frontline deputy chief and made the following comment: ‘we have some very hard working members on Patrol who should be recognized for their hard work and we also have members who are ‘Canine Fornicators’ who will be held to account,’” an inspector in charge of central platoon wrote in a memo, obtained by the Citizen, that he sent up his chain of command.
The senior officer said comments made by Skinner were “shocking.”
In a statement to the Citizen Monday, Skinner said she “was attempting to speak in general terms about concerns I have heard from some front line members about accountability on the job.”
“Many have expressed that it was important that any new model ensure that all members are consistently held to the same performance standard.”
“I used inappropriate language in describing those sentiments,” Skinner said.
Several officers told the Citizen about the comments and said they felt insulted and disrespected.
Skinner said she “referred to no specific members and was speaking in general terms” but also said she recognizes “that what I said offended some members.”
Multiple officers heard the comments and best estimates are that about 70 Ottawa police officers were listening to the presentation, according to the memo sent by the inspector.
“At this specific point in time, with significant levels of challenging change occurring within the organization, this comment made to a large group of dedicated, hard working frontline personnel, has been extremely detrimental to our sustained, daily efforts to boost morale and ongoing enthusiastic commitment to the Service Initiative,” the inspector wrote in the memo.
A formal respectful workplace complaint was also filed with senior officers asking Chief Charles Bordeleau to address Skinner’s comments.
President of the police union Matt Skof told the Citizen that the association “has been contacted by several members in regards to the derogatory comment.”
Skof said the union has been advised of the workplace harassment complaint and hopes that an apology is forthcoming.
Skinner said she has apologized to the officer who first took issue with the comments and intends to apologize to the platoon who witnessed the presentation.
On the date you are referring to, I was speaking to a platoon of officers giving them an update on the new deployment model.
On that night, I was attempting to speak in general terms about concerns I have heard from some front line members about accountability on the job. Many have expressed that it was important that any new model ensure that all members are consistently held to the same performance standard .
I used inappropriate language in describing those sentiments. I referred to no specific members and was speaking in general terms but I recognize that what I said offended some members.
I have already apologized to the officer who first raised the matter. I will be speaking to the same platoon shortly and I will apologize to them for using those words.
I have been an Ottawa Police officer for 35 years and I am very proud of the members I serve with.