With the gag orders in place it is hard to get any information on what is happening with the outrageous action by Chief Jack Beaton in searching and seizing a computer from Jann Vahey who ran a website critical of his management.
Even normally loquaicious lawyers are behaving like Trappist monks.
However, if one diligently keeps one’s ear to the ground, it is usually possible to at least get a glimpse into the situation. It is after all, a police department and cops do like to talk.
With the pressure from the media heating up, including a lead editorial in the National Post headlined Calgary’s Strongman, my sources tell me a move is afoot from within the Police Commission to get Jack to put this matter to bed. And promptly too, I’m told. The black eye the Service is getting arising from this sordid affair, is getting darker with each media hit.
Negotiations are apparently ongoing, with Beaton pushing for a quick closure and admission of wrongdoing by way of an apology to the Service at large. Considering Vahey was defending the Police Service from the ham-fisted management of Beaton, that is rich indeed. I also believe, though I can’t get anyone to confirm it with all the respective gag orders in place, that Beaton has demanded Vahey appear before a select group of police officers and answer their questions.
If I were Vahey, I sure as hell wouldn’t do it. A bunch of Beaton sycophants would no doubt be assembled who would then grill Vahey on the identity of any serving police officer who may have helped her or emailed support comments to her. The expression ‘Star Chamber’ comes to mind.
No, instead, if Beaton had a shred of respect for the Service he claims to be protecting, he would offer any officer who wishes to attend such a session, the opportunity to show up and participate. I suspect Vahey and her lawyers would jump at that chance to settle this then. But that wouldn’t serve Beaton well now would it? He might actually have to listen to the very police officers who have lost all confidence in his leadership and spawned the original website critical of him at the outset.
Equally, he would also invite members of the media to demonstrate that he is actually doing something positive and cathartic instead of destructive and vengeful. But then, that would actually take a real leader and Beaton has clearly demonstrated with his actions in this that he has precious few real leadership qualities.
Beaton has also been taking heat from the media for using public money to fund his witchhunt. I’m betting his next move will be to claim he will recover any and all public money, including that paid to his old pal Bruce Dunn to “investigate” this matter. Here comes that sledge hammer to swat at that nasty gnat again.
My sources in the department also tell me that the guys are all walking on egg shells, while trying to keep their heads down to avoid the withhunt being conducted. Meanwhile, media lawyers are getting their heads and cases together to get the order sealing the application for the Anton Piller order lifted. Other media outlets are taking steps to protect their source information and identities as the witchhunt inevitably spreads from inside the department, out.
This sordid mess isn’t getting any better as it ages.