The head of Ottawa's rank-and-file police union, Matt Skof, has resigned as president and given notice he is retiring as a police officer.
In a lengthy message sent Thursday afternoon to all Ottawa Police Association (OPA) members and obtained by CBC News, Skof wrote that "after considerable thought" he had concluded it was "time for the membership to choose a new leader."
"To be your president is to take on the role as the voice for the women and men who chose policing as their life's work — whether sworn or civilian," he wrote.
"You serve your city every day, and the President's role is to serve you — that has motivated me, every day."
Skof has not replied to a request for comment.
Charged by OPP in 2019
Though his policing and association careers have ended, Skof continues to face criminal charges laid by the Ontario Provincial Police.
In January 2019, he was charged with breach of trust and obstruction of justice after an investigation into leaked audio recordings that had allegedly captured conversations with Skof.
In those conversations, he allegedly shared his knowledge of an undercover police operation, discussed then-police board chair Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, and called a community advocate a misogynist slur.
The criminal allegations against him have not yet been tested. He is next scheduled to appear in court on May 16, where the matter is set "to be spoken to."
Union head for more than a decade
Skof, a sergeant by rank, became president of the police association representing rank-and-file Ottawa Police Service members and civilians in 2011.
He has been a vocal and public critic of serving police chiefs and brass, but has also faced significant community criticism from advocates who called for changes to policing and even his resignation.
Despite that, he was continually acclaimed to the position or re-elected by Ottawa police officers over multiple terms.
The end of his tenure as OPA president comes as the service is without a permanent police chief amid the Freedom Convoy fallout and on the heels of a newly installed police board, with El-Chantiry back at its helm.