Ottawa police chief Vince Bevan retired yesterday. He gained notoriety in the nineties when he oversaw the investigation of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, two of Canada's most infamous sexual serial predators and killers.
The Ottawa Sun newspaper quoted Bevan as saying that sometimes all people need is one good break in a murder, but writer Jorge Barrera pointed out that Bevan missed his big break in the Bernardo case. His team failed to find explicit videotapes in Bernardo's house near St. Catherine's, Ontario, that clearly implicated him in the murders of schoolgirls Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffey.
As a result of the team missing the tapes, the Crown cut a sweetheart deal with Karla, who has now served her time and, to the dismay and outrage of the public, is out of prison, living somewhere in Québec.
Bevan may have also missed his cues in the murders of Ardeth Wood and Jennifer Teague in Ottawa. Chris Myers of Sudbury was only arrested in the Wood case when some clever cop in North Bay recognized Myers from the suspect sketch that had been hanging in the walls of various police stations all around the province.
Bevan didn't have to do much work in the Teague case either, although Barrera stated that the search for Jennifer Teague's killer took more than 10 months and cost approximately $400,000. But in the end, the suspect, Kevin Davis, was so overwhelmed with guilt that he became intoxicated on psilocybin, ran into the streets naked, and confessed to the murder.
It can't be easy being the chief of police. The responsibility of that position is daunting to consider, however, it doesn't seem as though Vince Bevan was anywhere near the top of his game during these tragedies. As he passes the torch, I wish the best of luck to his successor.