Town of Bridgewater severs ties with former police chief John Collyer

by Charles Mandel

The Town of Bridgewater issued a news release August 30 that says that it is no longer employing former Chief of Police John Collyer.

"Mr. Collyer is no longer on the Town payroll and the employment relationship was finalized in accordance with labour standards in Nova Scotia, and independent of the matter before the courts," the release said.

"Under personnel guidelines, representatives from the Town of Bridgewater and Bridgewater Police Commission will have no further comment on Mr. Collyer's employment status or on any matter before the courts."

Mayor David Mitchell said: "It's time to move forward.

"There will be information forthcoming about the appointment of a new Chief of Police in Bridgewater in the weeks to come, and Town Council looks forward to future announcements."

Collyer, 54, is slated to go to trial over a six day period in July 2019 following his indictment on sex charges.

In April, a provincial court judge deemed there was enough evidence to warrant a trial following a day-and-half-long preliminary inquiry during which three witnesses testified. A court-ordered ban currently prevents any publicity of evidence heard during those proceedings.

Collyer is charged with two counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual assault. The allegation that he touched a young girl with his hand for a sexual purpose and the charge of sexual assault in relation to the same complainant are alleged to have occurred between May and July of 2016. The charge that he invited the same young person to touch him for a sexual purpose is alleged to have occurred between April and July 2016.

Collyer was placed on administrative leave in August 2016 after it went public that the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the province's independent police oversight agency, was investigating his actions in relation to a female teen. He was suspended in May 2017 when word came that SIRT laid charges.

Collyer has been a member of the Bridgewater's police force since 1990. He rose to the rank of deputy chief in 2009 before becoming chief.

He received the provincial justice minister's crime prevention leadership award in 2010 for his volunteer work with South Shore Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Bridgewater Police Commission Chairman David Walker said that over the past several months, both Acting Chief of Police Scott Feener and Acting Deputy Chief Danny MacPhee have done outstanding work leading the Bridgewater Police Service membership.

"We wish to thank them both for their efforts – they have been exceptional in their leadership and in keeping the bar high for police service standards in our community," Mr. Walker said.

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