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Another VPD officer facing obstruction of justice probe gets sought-after assignment

Click to play video: 'Accused VPD officers get plum assignments'
Accused VPD officers get plum assignments
New questions about how the Vancouver Police Department is dealing with a pair of officers who are under investigation. In a Global News exclusive, Catherine Urquhart has details about what could be interpreted as "rewards" for those accused of wrongdoing. – Apr 13, 2023

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is facing new questions over how it deals with a number of officers currently facing investigation, after one of them was given a highly-sought after assignment.

Approximately three months ago a criminal investigation was launched into the actions of three senior VPD officers for possible obstruction of justice.

It came after the officers attended the scene of a collision at Kingsway and Royal Oak Avenue in Burnaby involving another VPD member, who had allegedly made an illegal left-hand turn.

At the scene, one VPD member allegedly grabbed the investigating Burnaby RCMP officer’s arm as he attempted to retrieve a cell phone. Another VPD officer allegedly threatened the Mountie’s job.

Click to play video: 'VPD superintendent under investigation for alleged interference in Burnaby car crash gets plum re-assignment'
VPD superintendent under investigation for alleged interference in Burnaby car crash gets plum re-assignment

Global News has previously reported that one of those officers, Supt. Tanya Whysker, was reassigned to FIFA World Cup Security preparations, a position expected to include travel and possible attendance at large-scale events.

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Now, Global News has learned that Insp. Kelly Risebrough, who is also under criminal investigation related to the crash, is embarking on a pricey business trip, courtesy of taxpayers.

A tweet from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police says the trip to South Africa, Botswana and Turkey is to research opportunities to build trust between youth and police, as a part of the Global Studies Program.

Click to play video: 'VPD officers alleged to have interfered in crash investigation now under Police Act investigation'
VPD officers alleged to have interfered in crash investigation now under Police Act investigation

It is a deployment Arthur Schafer, director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics and the University of Manitoba questions.

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“While that investigation is ongoing all three officers should be suspended from duty,” he told Global News in an interview Thursday.

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“They certainly shouldn’t be taking luxurious trips.”

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police website says the trip cost $19,492.50.

“Inspector Risebrough’s participation in the Global Studies Program is funded through the Vancouver Police Department’s training budget,” the Vancouver Police Department said in a statement, adding that she joined the program last year.

“The Vancouver Police Department supports Inspector Risebrough’s continued participation in this program.”

But Schafer said the trips send the wrong message.

“Police ethics has to come from the top. The message that integrity counts, that as police officers we hold ourselves to a higher standard than ordinary citizens, not to a lower standard. If an ordinary citizen had done what these three officers have been accused of doing they’d be in prison.”

Multiple sources say the Burnaby RCMP officer who attended the crash scene was equipped with a body-worn camera, which captured video and audio of the entire incident.

A Police Act investigation ordered by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is on hold pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

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