Posted October 18, 2014
On October 8, 2014, guelphspeaks.ca published that Guelph Police Chief Brian Larkin had endorsed Mayor Karen Farbridge in every copy of her brochures. There were 45,000 distributed to Guelph households and it raised a red flag.
It is clear, according to the Ontario Association of Chief’s of Police that its organization doesn’t stand behind political platforms or candidates. Further, the Ontario Police Services Act prohibits municipal police officers from engaging in political activity.
That being the case, why did Larkin blatantly appear on the Mayor’s website as a supporter and in her brochure?
The difference between the two are the words in the brochure “outgoing Chief of Police Guelph” and the mayor’s website that describes him as “former Police Chief.”
The new Waterloo Regional Chief now says that the online endorsement of Farbridge was made as a private resident and taxpayer of Guelph, and not as chief. And he wanted that corrected by the Farbridge election team.
Chief, you are on the job 24/7 and you don’t have the luxury of switching from Chief to Civilian when it is convenient. In your profession, you can’t take sides in an election. The Ontario Police Services Act makes it clear.
Your endorsement in the brochure was made when you were Guelph’s Chief of Police prior to leaving August 31. Otherwise, why did the Farbridge team describe you as “outgoing Chief of Police?” Guess they were not aware of the Ontario Police Act that forbids endorsement of candidates by any police officer.
Regardless of your affection for the politics of Mayor Farbridge, you acted unprofessionally and should apologize to the citizens of Guelph for your action in trying to influence the voters of this city.
You, of all people, must realize the damage you have not only done to your own reputation but that of the other Guelph mayoralty candidates. You have also damaged the integrity of the officers and staff of the Guelph Police Services by taking sides in a municipal election.
It’s sad and surprising that a man of your reputation would sully it with such a dumb mistake and then try to whitewash it.
But then power can do strange things to trusted and respected people.