Relations between Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire and Police Services Board member Terry Whitehead hit a new low on Tuesday, when Whitehead called the Chief a liar in front of Hamilton Spectator Reporter Dan Nolan who captured the exchange on a tape recorder. The Ward 8 councillor’s comments were made after he and the chief had disagreed over a photo Whitehead produced showing two members of the police ACTION squad talking to each other. Whitehead maintained the two had chatted for 40 minutes, while De Caire said the conversation took only a few seconds. The downtown Action team –consisting of foot and bicycle patrols has been a target of Whitehead in the recent police budget debate—the Councillor insisting that partially dismantling the team would free up officers for use elsewhere and mitigate the need to hire more officers. The blow up occurred after Chief De Caire had earlier issued a strong written rebuke to Whitehead over remarks the Councillor made in a recent media interview. The chief objected to Whitehead calling Hamilton Police ACTION team members ‘giraffes.’ The giraffe comment was apparently a reference to the yellow jackets worn my members of the team. In the letter the Police Chief notes that he asked for an apology from the Councillor but was refused. Wrote De Caire, “your use of inappropriate and offensive language towards our members only serves to undermine the public’s approval and respect for the men and women of this Service.”
While Whitehead has not apologized for the ‘giraffe’ remark he did apologize late last night for calling the chief a liar. Wrote Whitehead: I apologize to Chief De Caire regarding my unparliamentary language towards him at the police board meeting on Tuesday 21st in midst of a heated exchange.
It is obvious that we both have different opinions on a incident ; one or the other may be of a misapprehension about those facts. Time will tell, when the evidence comes forward.
Again I apologize for my unparliamentary language for I believe the Chief and I have many of the same goals. I trust we can work together to achieve them.
The full text of the Chief’s letter is here:
[gview file=”http://bayobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Whitehead.pdf” height=”800px” width=”600px” save=”0″]