A Saskatoon police officer who helped maliciously prosecute a dozen people on false sexual abuse charges has retired before police Chief Russ Sabo could decide his future.
Brian Dueck's lawyer tendered the former police superintendent's resignation Monday afternoon during a closed-door meeting with Sabo. He will begin collecting his pension immediately as his resignation took effect the same day.
According to a police news release, Brian Dueck's retirement means he is no longer subject to the disciplinary provisions of the Saskatchewan Police Act.
In December 2003, Justice George Baynton found that Dueck helped maliciously prosecute Richard Klassen and members of the extended Klassen family in the early 1990s.
He was the lead police investigator in the case, which was based largely on the fabricated stories of three foster children.
Dueck has been on paid medical leave since January.
Richard Klassen directed his anger toward Sabo after learning Dueck had retired.
"(Sabo) apologized to us, didn't he? He knew the department had done us wrong. Why didn't he fire the officer that was responsible for it?" wondered Klassen. "Some apology. In my opinion, there was no apology now. It's all wiped out. Sabo wasn't sorry for anything."
Sabo would not comment on Dueck's resignation nor would police say how long Monday's meeting lasted and whether Dueck accompanied his lawyer to the meeting.
Sabo had asked a private law firm to review Baynton's judgment, then asked the Saskatchewan Justice Department to assign an independent police agency to review the matter. The justice report received by Sabo earlier this month indicated there was an insufficient basis to conduct a criminal investigation of Dueck's conduct.
Monday's meeting was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed at Dueck's request.
"If I knew that this could happen and I was chief, I would have fired him before he could do it," Klassen said.
Klassen says he had written a letter to Sabo expressing his concern that Dueck might resign before any disciplinary action could be taken against the officer. And he says the chief phoned him just last week.
"He said I may even have to testify depending on what his decision is. That gave me the impression that (Dueck) would be fired much like (Larry) Hartwig and (Brad) Senger. And here I hear this. I'm more than shocked," said Klassen.
Klassen vows he'll resume demonstrating against the police force by picketing the downtown station and going door-to-door throughout Saskatoon. He also plans to release information that was not presented in the malicious prosecution case.
Klassen believes many people in Saskatoon will be disappointed with Dueck's resignation.
"The support that I have gotten throughout this last year from people on the street and who were awaiting to hear what would happen with Dueck is astronomical," he said.
Klassen now has set his sights on the mayor's chair.
"The people I've talked to, and I'm talking thousands, over the last year have been supportive and believe that I've got good ideas. We're not building confidence (in the police department)," he said.
The closed-door meeting between the police chief and Dueck's lawyer falls under Section 60 of the police act dealing with incompetence and unsuitability -- the same process Sabo followed with former constables Hartwig and Senger, who were fired Nov. 12 in the aftermath of the Neil Stonechild inquiry.
Police Chief Russell Sabo has ordered Supt. Brian Dueck or a representative on his behalf to appear before him Monday as the chief considers the officer's future with the force.
Justice George Baynton found in December that Dueck maliciously prosecuted a dozen people on false sexual abuse charges in the early 1990s. The officer dropped his appeal of the ruling in July.
Dueck was the lead police investigator in the case, which was based largely on the fabricated stories of three foster children. He has been on paid medical leave since January.
Sabo first asked a private law firm to review Baynton's judgment, then asked the Saskatchewan Justice Department to assign an independent police agency to review the matter.
On Dec. 2, he received an opinion from Saskatchewan Justice that there's an insufficient basis to conduct a criminal investigation of Dueck's conduct.
The closed-door review falls under Section 60 of the Saskatchewan Police Act dealing with incompetence and unsuitability -- the same process Sabo followed with constables Larry Hartwig and Brad Senger, whom he fired Nov. 12 in the aftermath of the Neil Stonechild inquiry.
Dueck has been served a notice to appear. A lawyer or official from the police executive officers association may appear in his place.
"This matter has been outstanding for a significant amount of time," Sabo said. "I want to be able to deal with the matter as expeditiously as possible."
Once Sabo takes time to consider Dueck's side, he'll look at options ranging from reinstating the officer to suspending, demoting or firing him.
"(At) minimum, he has to be fired," said Richard Klassen, one of the victims. "He can't retire and collect a pension. . . . Certainly it's conduct unbecoming an officer.
"If this doesn't happen the way it should happen, then it's never going to be resolved. My whole aim was to bring justice, not just for our family. If this police officer stays on the force or retires with a pension, it was all for nothing.
"It's one thing to hear an apology from the chief and the police department, it's another to see something done about it."
Klassen said he's prepared to resume demonstrating in front of the police station if there's any decision short of dismissal.
"I wouldn't let this guy go," he said.
Efforts to reach Dueck were unsuccessful.
More than a dozen members of the Klassen and Kvello families were charged in 1991 with abusing the children.
The charges eventually were stayed against 12 of them, while a controversial plea bargain saw one accused, Peter Klassen, plead guilty to some of the charges.
In 1994, the 12 who had their charges stayed sued for malicious prosecution. The case dragged on for nearly 10 years before Baynton ruled in their favour against Dueck, Crown prosecutor Matthew Miazga and therapist Carol Bunko-Ruys.
No, there is not really anything new to tell you and that is the problem. The graphics below from 2001 and 2003 shows Dueck's powerful position.
Two Court of Queen's Bench judges (Baynton and Wright) have found Saskatoon Police acted with malice. (Yes, covering up police involvement in a dumping death is malicious.) In suspending Deputy Chief Wiks and firing Larry Hartwig and Brent Senger, Chief Sabo has shown that he can respond to community pressure when he is pushed.
Why has he not responded to our call to fire Dueck? Correspondence below contains promises this matter will be dealt with in ten days. How often have we seen ten days expand to weeks to months to years? Richard Klassen has been telling the police force about Dueck for thirteen years. This period includes half a dozen different police chiefs.
The Criminal Investigations Division is responsible for most of the detective/plainclothes officers within the Saskatoon Police. Sections within this division include: Special Investigations, Integrated Intelligence, Serious Crime, Major Crime, Polygraph, Identification, Integrated Drug, Commercial Crime/Arson, Morality, Vice, General Investigations/Stolen Auto, Break and Enter, SHOCAP and Pawn Detail. Approximately 90 personnel work in this division. The CID Superintendent is also in charge of the Center for Children's Justice and Victim Services
This shot is taken from the Police website in February, 2003
Superintendent Brian Dueck
Under the direction of the Deputy Chief of Police, the Human Resources Superintendent is responsible for the management and administration of recruitment, selection, civilian staffing, employee appraisal, training, personnel records, the Police promotion process and the supervision of the section staff. The Superintendent is responsible for overall supervisory control and management within the Division, ensuring the Police Service provides an effective and efficient service to the public.
You will notice that in the second graphic, The Chief of Police is not even included. At that time it was, and still is, Russell Sabo.
We have been asking for some time, and will now ask it again: How can a police chief fulfil a promise to clean up the force if his new recruits are being recruited and trained by a man who is dirty? Chief Sabo had to know that Dueck, the city and the police were named in a lawsuit filed in 1993. And if he had been misled on the seriousness of the claims against Dueck there, he must surely have been aware of Dueck and Murray Zoorkan's Rambo tactics in the Kim Cooper fiasco. Zoorkan is now a superintendant. How did this happen? Shoring up the Old Boys' Network is not a smart way to clean up the force.
We are really tired of waiting.
Richard Klassen sent the following e-mail to Chief Sabo yesterday:
Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2004 1:09 PM
To: Sabo, Russell (Police)
Subject: Brian Dueck
I am writing in relation to some information I received from Robert Borden. He informed me that as of January, 2005 Brian Dueck will be able to retire with a full pension even in light of the investigation currently ongoing. If this is the case, this definitely is not acceptable in light of the findings of Justice Baynton's judgment. The fact that Brian Dueck has openly accepted these findings by not appealing his decision, should have expedited this entire investigation to a final conclusion.
It is disheartening to see a police officer disregard the findings of Justice Baynton and to continue to stay on the payroll. I have come to the conclusion that there may likely be substance to Robert Borden's claim. For this reason I believe it is in my best interest to once again go as public as feasibly possible to expose any possible tricks that Mr. Dueck may be playing.
I have waited much too long for justice in this case, and personally speaking I am tired of waiting. I recently supported you in your decision to fire both Hartwig and Senger. I have at all times felt compassion for the hard decisions you have had to make in the past regarding your police force. However in saying that I believe it is time for you to publicly address the findings of Brian Dueck and start the process of rebuilding a police force that I feel is salvageable for the most part.
I sincerely hope that I will receive a reply to this letter that will be both satisfactory to myself as well as the public. I have been patient for thirteen years; this patience has now run its course.
From: Sabo, Russell (Police) [mailto:Russell.Sabo@Police.Saskatoon.Sk.CA]
Sent: December 1, 2004 5:13 PM
To: Angie Geworsky
Subject: RE: Brian Dueck
Angie and Richard, thanks for your patience I must tell you that I am waiting to receive confirmation of findings from the review that I had initiated and hope to have them back in the next 10 days. At that point I will have to consider the findings and then consider what actions are appropriate....Russ
You know, the informality and first name chummy style of the Chief wears thin. Dave Scott was the master of this craft and he managed to take his forced retirement without going to jail. We recognize that Scott was able to project charm to cover up what he was really doing. We really don't need another charming chief: we need a leader with courage.
The lines have been fairly clearly drawn since former mayor Jim Maddin finally got around to firing Scott. It was too little and it was too late but it was something. We responded at the time. Scott had managed to get the outgoing Board of Commissioners to give him a contract that was so outrageous ($150K) many, including the media, were left with our jaws on the floor. Once Scott was gone and his business connections on the Board were gone, Maddin took far too long to choose the next chief. There are a number of things he could have done that he didn't do because he didn't fully appreciate the strength of the mandate we had given him. We knew it was a case of civilized people against thugs. We tried to tell him. It was not until May of his third year that he responded to us.
When Saskatoon voters went to the polls in November, 2003, we learned that this city had a frightening majority of people who prefered a strict "law and order" method of dealing with the rise of crime to a more compassionate, help-each-other-out approach which was represented by the buzzwords "community policing." Jim Pankiw, who is an outright racist, got more votes than Mayor Maddin. Dave Scott, on the night before the election, was able to go on television, voice his distaste and dislike for Mayor Maddin -- and mobilize the Atchison vote.
Atchison started out hell-bent on implementing the "law and order" agenda. He got rid of police commission head Leanne Bellegarde-Daniels and promised to shut down the Little Chief Station (above). Chief Sabo was able to hold back the tide somewhat, having confirmation of corruption in his department from two respected judges. Yet he has still failed to act decisively. He is the only one with a big enough broom to make a clean sweep of the corrupt and mutinous forces within his ranks.
Doesn't he get it? Dueck's influence within the force is entrenched. He has been training new recruits! During the time he has been "getting to know" the force he was hired to lead, surely he has come up with some honest officers who could re-train those who got off to a bad start. But it would be pretty hard to do this if Dueck gets to retire with full pension. Stan Goertzen, the head of the union, is clearly from the old boy's school. Like Dueck, he reinforces his already formidable appearance with an alternatively surly and soft manner. His interrogation methods have been seen this week by another Queen's Bench judge, John Klebuc who is presiding over the trial of Farand Bear.
The Saskatoon Police will not be able to serve a community which is scared of it. And a large portion of Saskatoon's west side is scared. This is the community which did not vote for Jim Pankiw. This is also the community which is largely responsible for Saskatoon having its highest muder rate in ten years and for continually leading national statistics for violent crime and general dissatisfaction.
Dueck has played a huge role in shaping this community. He has neutralized or neutered anyone who has risen to oppose him. He went after the Klassen/Kvello families in the early 1990s with a ferocity that was made clear at the civil trial. He went after neighbours, spread false rumours and generally strutted about like the Chief he hoped to become. He masterminded stings and drug operations which helped him keep his statistics looking good and the downtrodden fearful.
He was on a first name basis with the folks who run the methadone "program" -- which has receives funding from governments and makes claims which are simply not true. Methadone works in isolated cases where the addict has family, community and resources to help him/her recover. In a community like Saskatoon's west side, it is simply another mind-numbing addiction -- except it is almost impossible to get off it.
As we head into the hideous holiday season, the high salaries being paid to corrupt officials is truly galling. Last month, the Brief Detox centre finally opened. They showed the place which is joined onto Larson House. TV reported that it cost over a million dollars. That is to build it, not the operating budget for which the City has pledged $100K a year. The accounting for the huge amounts of money (quite a bit of it from the Federal government) spent to build this thing are spotty at best. Some are outlined in a press release from Liberal leader David Karwacki last August. As shown on TV it is a great big room with beds that fold into the wall. There are jail-style toilets and a Nurse Ratchett type glassed in enclosure. Persons who are bought there will be allowed to stay for three days max. Capacity is for 12 people, so that amounts to approximately one year of Brian Dueck's salary for each bed.
Dueck got a huge amount of capital by calling for such a center and going around the country as an authority on the need for such things. If the irony is not immediate apparent, I'm afraid I just can't spell it out any more clearly.
The following photos are from the sod turning ceremony in August, 2003. It has really been a small achievement. arrived at on a timetable which was way too long. Chief Sabo should not be operating on these slow timetables. He'd better sweep out the bad apples out before they suck him under.