Saanich Police Board goes digital with online agendas, minutes

Saanich police board still has work to do with transparency, says Mayor Richard Atwell

  • Mar. 17, 2015 4:00 p.m.

Saanich Police Board is moving into the 21st century by becoming most likely the last police agency in B.C. to post its agendas and minutes online.

The documents began appearing on on March 5 and date back two months. However, the agendas still lack attached reports and other documents that are otherwise available at public meetings.

“That’s not good enough,” said Mayor Richard Atwell, chair of the Saanich Police Board. “For a large municipality like Saanich, we shouldn’t be the last in anything.”

Atwell said the decision to post police board agendas and minutes was made before his tenure. Atwell did not know why the archives were backdated by only two months.

“We should be leading the way in most areas. I’m motivated to make this municipality as transparent as possible,” he said.

Atwell has agreed to recuse himself from police board meetings when items arise related to two complaints he filed with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner of B.C. in January.

The first complaint asks the OPCC to investigate a possible conflict of interest arising from Saanich Police Chief Bob Downie’s investigation into spyware installation on several District computers. Downie concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing in the matter. The second complaint relates to information leaked to media in relation to a 911 call Atwell made in December while at the home of a campaign worker.

The OPCC is still in the process of probing whether Atwell’s complaints warrant a full-fledged investigation. The OPCC did not return multiple requests for comment left over several days by the News.

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