February 2, 2017 8:42 pm
Updated: February 2, 2017 11:06 pm

Calgary mayor apologizes to female police officer who resigned: ‘we will support you’

WATCH ABOVE: Constable Jen Ward wants to advocate for a respectful workplace but may do it outside Calgary Police Service. Mayor Naheed Nenshi is asking her to stay at CPS. Gary Bobrovitz reports.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi is reaching out to a female police officer who announced her intention to resign in an emotional Calgary Police Commission meeting Tuesday night.

“I’m so sorry that this has happened to you,” was his message for Const. Jen Ward, issued to reporters at a Thursday press conference.

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“We believe you. We will support you. And I hope that you will still consider having a career at the Calgary Police Service because it’s people like you who are great officers… who are great public servants who deserve better.”

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 culture within the organization, including gender equity.

Watch below: Calgary Police Service Const. Jen Ward publicly announces her intention to resign

Ward’s friend, former police officer Marlene Hope, spoke out on her behalf Thursday afternoon.

“Jen continues to have a really strong desire to advocate for not only the people in the police service, sworn and civilian, but for people who have experienced workplace bullying and harassment,” Hope told Global News. “She has a real strong passion for that.”

Police commissioner and city councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart said Wednesday she hoped Ward would reach out to the police chief and stay on in the CPS to help improve workplace culture and address the issues she raised.

Hope said she was confident Ward would continue working in some capacity to advocate, but wasn’t sure if that would be as part of the service.

“That still can be done from a different venue than working internally with the people who committed this against her,” Hope said.

Watch below: Const. 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.

Nenshi called Ward’s resignation an “extraordinary, heart-wrenching thing to watch” and an “awful situation.”

“We have certain expectations as a city and as a city council and those expectations include that every single person who enters a career at the city, including in the Calgary Police Service, regardless of their background, their gender, their ethnicity, their religion… should have an opportunity to have a great career.”

He said he has full confidence the chief and the commission will improve the situation.

“It means making expectations very clear across the system on what kinds of behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable within the system and it means supporting those who come forward so that everybody has the ability to be heard.”

With interviews from Gary Bobrovitz

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

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