RCMP officers who attended a gala organized by Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek used their own money to attend, a senior Mountie said.
In a May 31 letter to mayor and council, Staff Sgt. Damian Volk, “D” Watch commander at the Langley detachment, said he was responding to discussion at the April 26th council meeting concerning the possibility that officers attended the Wonderland-themed fundraiser, held on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at taxpayer’s expense.
“As the watch commander in charge of a large contingent of members who were able to attend the benefit gala, I felt it my duty to ensure that any misunderstandings be clarified,” Volk wrote.
It was at the April 26 meeting that council ordered a follow-up report on the event, with a majority of council skeptical of assistant RCMP Commissioner Maureen Levy’s statement that a “thorough review” showed $361.44 in overtime was charged to the City of Langley after the gala.
Levy said one officer who attended the event had worked four hours overtime, at the suggestion of the then officer-in-charge, to help cover the cost of buying tickets.
“Every RCMP member and their guest who attended the gala did so with their own money,” Volk wrote.
“The members attended out of a commitment to their community and an appreciation of the City as well as to contribute to a charity benefiting our hospital partner Langley Memorial.”
“I would not want there to be a belief that the police officers had done something untoward as a bonus to themselves,” Volk added.
“These are the same police officers who have worked tirelessly for the last year throughout the pandemic, routinely deal with violent offenders and courageously put their lives on the line every day to protect this community to the best of their abilities.”
Volk’s letter was filed with the council agenda for the Monday, June 14 meeting.
A first report on the matter by Paul Gill, the former Maple Ridge general manager of finance and corporate services, said 35 Langley RCMP members attended the event and 19 of them came with spouses or guests, buying 54 tickets for a total value of $8,100.
Controversy has dogged the event since word broke that Supt. Murray Power, then the officer-in-charge of the Langley RCMP, told officers cost of the tickets could be covered by working overtime.
In seeking a third report on the matter, Coun. Nathan Pachal said four questions needed answers, including whether Township of Langley RCMP officers also took up the overtime offer.
“Why are there significant discrepancies between the Gill report and RCMP report on taxpayer costs, $8,100 compared to $361.44?” Pachal asked.
“Why did it take over one year to receive a response from the RCMP [and] why was the former officer-in-charge of the Langley detachment, Superintendent Murray Power, reassigned?”
Power was moved out of the Langley detachment without explanation after news of the overtime suggestion surfaced.
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