Meet our Board of Directors: Doug LePard, O.O.M, M.A.
Committed to promoting sound administration of justice since 1974, CIAJ prides itself on supporting the legal community at all levels. CIAJ would like to warmly thank its board members for sharing their skills and working to improve the justice system with heart and wisdom for the benefit of society as a whole. CIAJ’s actions and programs would not be possible without the dedication of these outstanding professionals.
You have joined CIAJ’s Board in October 2022. Why did you choose this organization?
I was recruited by Stephen Bindman (already on the Board) who I had worked with for years on a Federal/Provincial/Territorial Heads of Prosecution Working Group on Preventing Wrongful Convictions. He thought my background might bring helpful diversity to the Board and I admired the goals of the organization and so applied for membership.
Why is it important for you to be active and involved aside from your occupation?
I had a full and varied career in policing during which I accumulated a great deal of knowledge and experience in the criminal justice system. But having retired at age 57, I had lots of energy left and a desire to contribute, so I have become a member of several boards and administrative tribunals, as well as doing many consulting projects related to public safety issues. I have always had a very high degree of interest in the law, and combined with my experience, the CIAJ seemed like an organization I could contribute to.
What do you like most about your profession?
Currently, I enjoy the variety of work I do, including sitting on two administrative tribunals and sitting as a Board member on several organizations that I can bring my executive experience to, including the Board of the BC Emergency Health Service (ambulance). I have done considerable work for the BC government, including a recent investigation and report I co-authored into repeat offending and unprovoked stranger attacks, that has been the catalyst for some significant initiatives by government in response to our recommendations. That was very gratifying.
Is there a cause that is particularly close to your heart?
Public safety, including addressing the “upstream” underlying causes of crime by addressing poverty, homelessness, mental health, and addiction.
Do you think that justice is evolving at the same pace as society?
No, the law always lags behind society, whether it is in terms of social trends or technology.
What is the last law or public debate that has particularly caught your interest?
Mandatory Minimum Penalties. Several years ago I was appointed by the former federal Attorney General to a committee to study the issue and our report made clear that the MMPs were generally ineffective and in many cases unjust. We correctly predicted that many MMPs would be found unconstitutional, and I’m pleased to see the government taking action on them, despite criticism from the Conservative party and the “law and order” groups.
What do you think about the Internet exposure of legal cases?
I am not on any social media platforms except LinkedIn. I’m appreciative of how easy it is to search for court cases on the Internet, but I otherwise avoid the vitriol and misinformation that plagues social media.
Are you active on social media? If so, how? Do you think they can promote access to justice for all?
Only a bit on LinkedIn and I’m not qualified to comment on this issue.
Who is the most inspiring person or personality in your career and why?
I have had many people inspire me during my career in policing. The attributes I admire are integrity, compassion, work ethic, intelligence, leadership, and a willingness to help others to succeed. I have aspired to reflect those examples in my career.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced along the way?
I faced many challenges in 37+ years of policing, from physical dangers in my years of frontline policing (e.g., being shot in line of duty while working in a covert unit), to dealing with extreme organizational challenges at the management and executive levels. The most significant challenge I faced was likely with regard to a critical review I wrote of a missing women/serial killer investigation that played a major role in a 2011/2012 Commission of Inquiry during which I spent 14 grueling days on the stand dealing with attacks from lawyers defending various interests, and suffered other negative consequences. However, my analysis was vindicated and lauded in the Inquiry’s final report, so that was gratifying.
When you were a student, were you thinking about becoming chief officer?
Yes, I had decided at about age 12 that’s what I wanted to do and was making concrete plans when I was 16.
What else would you have liked to do if you had not joined the police force?
Become a lawyer, but at least I can live vicariously through my younger daughter who is at Dalhousie Law.
What do you do in your free time, do you have a hobby?
I read a great deal, mostly non-fiction, try to stay fit, go on frequent dog walks with my wife, sometimes binge shows if we can find something really good, look forward to our next travels, including trips with our adult daughters.
Is there a message you would like to pass on to the next generation? If you could talk to yourself when you were 20 years old what would you say?
The same thing I say to young people now: You can’t control your level of innate ability, but you can control your attitude, work ethic and integrity. When they are looking for volunteers for something that could provide a challenge and a learning opportunity, take one step forward, not one step back, try to do more than is expected (under promise and over deliver), and help others succeed as well – make sure to “pay it forward.”
About Doug LePard, O.O.M., M.A.
CIAJ Board of Directors Member since October 2022
Retired Police Chief (Metro Vancouver Transit Police). Independent Criminal Justice Sector Consultant
Doug LePard is an independent criminal justice sector consultant, a member of two administrative tribunals (the Mental Health Review Board and the BC Review Board), a Director on the BC Emergency Health Services Board, and former sessional Criminology faculty at the University of the Fraser Valley. After 35 years’ service, he retired as the Deputy Chief commanding the Investigation Division in the Vancouver Police Department, then served several years as the Chief of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police. While in the VPD, after working as a patrol officer for several years, he had multiple investigative assignments where he conducted countless serious investigations, including in the Strike Force, the Sexual Offence Squad, the Domestic Violence & Criminal Harassment Unit, and the Home Invasion Task Force. He has taught various investigative skills to police officers throughout B.C., including interviewing and interrogation, reporting writing, and investigative file management. Other assignments included managing beat policing in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and leading the VPD’s Planning & Research Section. He has also served as an investigator and “Discipline Authority” for Police Act matters. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. He has authored or co-authored articles, textbook chapters, and major reports on a variety of policing issues, including wrongful convictions and serial murder investigations. His review of the Robert Pickton serial murder investigation was described at a Commission of Inquiry as “an unprecedented self-examination by police and a rare exemplar of how you can do an internal autopsy and try to figure out what went wrong so that it won’t happen again in the future.” He has presented on various policing matters in Canada, the United States, and Europe. His awards include numerous VPD commendations, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Governor General’s Academic Medal, the Lieutenant Governor’s Merit Award, and the Gold Medal of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law. He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General of Canada in 2012.