RNC Chief Bill Janes retiring after 'ticking the last box' on 3-year plan

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Probe clears senior RNC officers of obstruction of justice

Outgoing Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Bill Janes says a string of investigations questioning the force's professionalism and integrity played no role in his decision to retire in June.

"Those cases will go through processes and in the end there will be an outcome and people need to be patient," said Janes.

"But I think as an organization we are built on a foundation of integrity and professionalism, and those core values will be what people see in the end."

Janes informed the provincial government on Wednesday that he would be stepping down from his role, CBC News learned and confirmed with an RNC spokesman late Wednesday night.

The police force has faced strong, public criticism following the acquittal of one of its members, Const. Carl Douglas Snelgrove, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman who asked him for a ride home while he was on duty.

Controversial cases

A jury found Snelgrove not guilty, but his professional conduct is still being investigated by the RNC.

His court verdict came while public hearings were being held at a judicial inquiry into the shooting death of 58-year-old Don Dunphy by Const. Joe Smyth.

At the inquiry, Smyth criticized the RNC and Janes for not offering him adequate public support following the shooting.

Janes's resignation also comes during repeated reviews of the conduct of RNC Staff Sgt. Tim Buckle during a criminal investigation into one of his fellow officers.

Five senior members of the RNC are also being investigated by Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT).

Sources have told CBC News the investigation is focused on the use of a criminal informant, who allegedly continued to commit crimes without being arrested by police officers.

No comment

Janes said he couldn't comment on the details of any ongoing investigations, but he expects the thousands of calls the police take that don't result in news coverage will outweigh the few that do.

"Attending 75,000 calls a year and people interacting with our officers everyday and the type of respect that we show for others … people will see that and it will be positive in terms of our relationship with the community," he said.

This March, following  Snelgrove's verdict, Justice Minister Andrew Parsons said the RNC will have to show leadership to restore public confidence in the RNC.

Janes said he believes confidence in the force remains strong.

"Those interactions that happen everyday impact how people feel about us," said Janes.

"And I will also say I receive a lot of calls from people who say their support for the RNC is unwavering. So the support is still there."

Ticking off the checklist

Janes turned the conversation to what he says has been achieved since he became chief in 2014.

"Three years ago we laid out a strategic plan for our organization and just recently I ticked the last box in that three-year plan," said Janes.

The plan included improving road safety.

"We focused on distracted driving, impaired driving and speeding to change behaviour and reduce car accidents," he said.

Since 2013, Janes said the number of annual road accidents has dropped, and the total number of road accidents has declined from 6,200 in 2013 to 5,200 in 2016.

"So that's a big impact on our community," said Janes.

The final box he ticked was the goal of improving the police's response to intimate-partner violence.

"There have been a lot of things that we have done to meet the needs of victims of violence," he said.

Janes joined the RNC in 1985. He told the provincial government and senior members of the RNC on Wednesday that he intends to leave the force's top job in June.​