KRG defends decision to fire police chief
Rank-and-file remain angry at KRG’s dumping of chief
This week, the Kativik Regional Government defended its decision to fire Brian Jones as chief of the Kativik Regional Police Force on Sept. 14 and tried to mend fences with Nunavik Police Association, whose members are protesting the decision.
Past and present KRPF members continue to speak up for Jones, saying the former KRPF chief defended their interests.
“I was with KRPF for over five years,” writes one former Nunavik cop to the Nunatsiaq News TalkBack web forum.
“From what I saw, Brian gave KRPF everything he had. He has sacrificed much of his life to get KRPF to where it is today…We all know Brian’s dismissal is bulls#&t. Brian will always have my full respect.”
The KRG’s regional council voted to fire Jones at a late-night meeting held Sept. 14.
“Chief Jones, yes, I refer to him as the chief, because whether or not he has the official title, he will always remain the chief,” writes another.
Many police officers are angry at how the KRG’s regional council passed two resolutions at a Sept. 14 meeting.
The first resolution put an end to Jones’ 14 years of service with the KRPF, and the second named the KRG’s assistant general director, Luc Harvey, as interim chief of police, effective Sept. 20.
A source close to the police says on the TalkBack forum that the manner in which Jones was fired “is yet another excellent example of why the KRG should not have direct control over the police and why there should be a police services board between the government and the police.”
Jones intends to file an appeal against his dismissal. The appeal could take months to be heard.
Meanwhile, the Nunavik Police Association, the union representing KRPF constables, says they oppose the appointment of assistant general director Luc Harvey as interim chief of the KRPF.
That’s due to an “obvious reason of conflict of interest,” says the letter dated Sept. 21, and leaked to Nunatsiaq News.
The letter, addressed to the KRG’s chairperson, Maggie Emudluk, says the KRG executive should acknowledge that Harvey was “in the front line” of sometimes fractious interactions between the KRG and KRPF management.
“We, the Nunavik Police Association, would instead support a nomination of an interim chief among the KRPF ranks,” says the letter, signed by Jean-Mathieu Lafleur, NPA vice-president, and Jason Lee Bennett, NPA treasurer.
Emudluk’s response to the union, dated Sept. 22, was also leaked to Nunatsiaq News.
In it, Emudluk says the KRG made “a difficult but necessary decision” in firing Jones, but that the KRG has a “legal duty” to appoint Harvey until a new, permanent chief is named.
Emudluk says the appointment of Harvey, who has been assistant director general at the KRG, does not represent a conflict of interest for Harvey.
“We totally disagree with your allegation that he is in conflict of interest. At any rate, the matter is not up for discussion,” says the letter.
In its letter, the union also reminded the KRG that the KRPF’s collective agreement expired Dec. 31, 2005, and that NPA members would protest its expiry.
“Police officers have been contacted throughout Nunavik, and it is unanimous we feel our needs are not being met, and the work we are trying to complete is becoming exhausting.”
Emudluk’s letter says renewing the collective agreement was “one of the many tasks Mr. Jones was expected to carry out and did not.”
“We look forward to a fruitful negotiation and an early agreement,” says the letter.