February 1, 2017 8:35 pm
Updated: February 1, 2017 9:05 pm

Diane Colley-Urquhart hopes female officer reconsiders resignation after emotional Calgary police meeting

WATCH ABOVE: Constable Jen Ward shocked the Calgary Police Commission Tuesday night with a public a tearful resignation. But as Gary Bobrovitz reports, some are urging her to stay and accept new responsibilities.

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A Calgary Police Commission (CPC) member is proposing a female officer stay on to help improve workplace culture after she resigned in tears at Tuesday night’s commission meeting.

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“She can be a real agent for change and those are the sort of things I’ve been encouraging her this morning to do and undertake on behalf of those serving and on behalf of the citizens of Calgary,” Diane Colley-Urquhart told Global’s Gary Bobrovitz Wednesday.

Jen Ward, a 14-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service, was comforted by Chief Roger Chaffin after her dramatic resignation Tuesday. She cited bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace as her reasons for quitting, claims also brought forth in a 2013 workplace review that spurred a seven-point plan to improve gender equity.

“I’m hoping Jen will reach out to the chief because I think there’s a real key role for her to play on a go-forward basis,” Colley-Urquhart said.

Watch raw video below: A 14-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service tearfully resigned during Tuesday night’s Calgary Police Commission meeting, citing bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace.

The service is presenting monthly updates on what it’s calling an “HR Reform Action Plan” in an effort to deal with issues related to bullying, harassment and gender equity.

READ MORE: Calgary police continue to reform workplace culture after harassment claims

“How are you going to prevent the resignation of other members, both sworn and civilian… who have given up hope that change will ever come?” Ward said during her resignation. “Because in my case, I did not leave the Calgary Police Service. The Calgary Police Service left me.”

Colley-Urquhart said she’s gotten to know Ward very well over the last year or so. She acknowledged it’s difficult for the CPS to contact an employee when he or she is on stress leave, but commended Chaffin for his effort.

“Surely with all the consultants we’re bringing in and committees we’re setting out, there is a role for the women to be at the table and work directly with the chief and my feeling is, from what he’s told me, is that he’s very open to doing this,” Colley-Urquhart said.

“I really do feel the chief and his executive are committed and have a plan with this.”

The Calgary Police Association said Ward is not taking action on any of the issues through the union, which represents over 2,000 officers.

Watch below from Jan. 31:  The tearful decision to quit from a female officer came at a Calgary Police Commission meeting Tuesday night. Calgary’s chief of police vowed to improve work place culture after the resignation. Gary Bobrovitz reports.

Chaffin said Tuesday night he thanked Ward for the “courage to speak out” but also said he’s not willing to accept her resignation at this time. He repeated his vow to effect positive change in the culture at CPS after the meeting.

“Things about gender equity, particularly, are what we are striving very hard to understand,” he said. “[We are] three years into the work now, making sure we understand exactly where the issues lie and how to start fixing them.”

READ MORE: Calgary police chief posts open letter in response to controversial workplace review

With interviews from Gary Bobrovitz

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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