KAWARTHA LAKES-Kawartha 411 News has learned that both the Senior Officers Association (SOA) and the Peterborough Police Association (PPA)filed complaints against formerChief Scott Gilbert prior to his abrupt retirement.
This appears to be one of the only times both the senior and junior officers have filed complaints simultaneously against their chief in Ontario.
Gilbert was appointed police chief in June 2018 after a 38-year career with the Toronto Police Service. The Peterborough Police Services board sent out a press release on Friday, February 4th announcing the Chief’s retirement effective Monday, February 7th. No reason was provided.
“On behalf of the board, we acknowledge Scott’s accomplishments during his tenure ensuring that community safety was always priority number one,” said board chair Les Kariunas.
“Scott has led the service through significant changes over the past three and a half years. His work in advancing police accountability, adoption of new technologies and creating efficiencies in police community responses have resulted in a well-respected police service by citizens throughout the City of Peterborough, Lakefield and Cavan-Monaghan. The Board wishes him all the best in retirement”
Our sources say the board’s comments are far from reality.
There was a brief honeymoon period when Gilbert first arrived in Peterborough but things began to deteriorate quickly after that according to sources. It came to a head over the last four to six months when it started to impact the morale of the officers on the front lines.
According to our sources, the nature of the complaints made against Gilbert were related to “bullying” and “racism”.
“I am extremely disappointed,” said one high ranking officer. “I have never experienced such a terrible atmosphere. It’s infuriating to have a person that vexatious, I have never experienced that before. It has been very intense.”
Another source accused the chief of disinterest, backstabbing and creating conflict with local community partners.
The complaints from the SOA and PPA were sent to the Police Services Board who would investigate the allegations. Normally the file would then be referred to the OCPC for further evaluation if there was merit to the allegations. The retirement of the chief means the investigation stops at the board level as the OCPC can only investigate sworn members of a police service.
We contacted the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP)who would not comment on the situation.
“The OACP generally does not comment on complaints against Chiefs. That would be for the local police service board to comment on. We don’t keep track of complaints.” stated Joe Couto, Communications OACP.
We reached out to Gilbert over “Linked In” but have not had a response. His police email and Twitter accounts have been deactivated.
Board Chair Les Kariunas did not respond to our request for comment. Mayor Diane Therrien did not respond to our request for comment.
Deputy Chief Tim Farquharson has been named acting Chief and assumed the role on Monday.
Durham Regional Police Chief Paul Martin retired during a probe by an independent administrator in 2020. His retirement came a year after a probe was launched into allegations by police officers about cronyism and harassment within the Durham Regional Police Service. The OCPC determined that there was a “crisis of confidence” within the service and appointed an administrator to oversee it for the duration of the review.
Our sources for this story all spoke on condition of anonymity due to confidentiality.