Faulty tasers and pub­lic com­plaints

Po­lice Com­mis­sion re­port shows ma­jor­ity of MJPS dis­ci­plinary cases un­founded

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - COMING UP - SARAH LADIK

For the first time, the Saskatchewan Po­lice Com­mis­sion’s re­port has in­cluded data on the dis­po­si­tion of po­lice dis­ci­pline files, of­ten the re­sult of pub­lic com­plaints.

Moose Jaw’s ser­vice saw 11 such files closed in the year, with the pro­vin­cial to­tal stand­ing at 121.

The lat­est an­nual re­port cov­ers the fis­cal year end­ing in spring 2017.

Of the 11 dis­ci­pline files, seven were found to be un­founded, two re­sulted in non-dis­ci­plinary dis­po­si­tion — which can in­clude things like coach­ing, guid­ance, coun­sel­ing and me­di­a­tion — and two ended with res­ig­na­tions.

While that sounds dra­matic, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the com­mis­sion Richard Peach said the cat­e­gory in­cludes files that have been closed be­cause an of­fi­cer re­tired, and it does not nec­es­sar­ily fol­low that the of­fi­cer in ques­tion re­tired as a re­sult of a com­plaint against them.

“If there was an open dis­ci­pline file, and the dis­ci­pline file was then closed be­cause of the re­tire­ment of the of­fi­cer, the re­port we would get would sim­ply in­di­cate that the dis­ci­pline file was ter­mi­nated upon re­tire­ment,” Peach said.

Sgt. Kevin Pilsworth of the MJPS con­firmed that no of­fi­cers in his out­fit re­signed as a re­sult of dis­ci­plinary ac­tion in 2016-2017.

“The fact that there may or may not have been a pub­lic com­plaint that may have in­cluded an of­fi­cer had no bear­ing on their de­par­ture,” he told the TimesHer­ald, adding that mem­bers leave for all kinds of rea­sons, in­clud­ing re­tire­ment or to move to an­other force. “We have to bal­ance out our com­mit­ment to trans­parency with the pub­lic with pro­tect­ing the in­tegrity and pri­vacy of the mem­bers who have left.

Pilsworth did con­firm that at least two of­fi­cers left the po­lice force dur­ing the time frame in ques­tion, but re-af­firmed that it was not as a re­sult of pub­lic com­plaints.

That be­ing said, the re­port in­di­cates that com­pared to other ser­vices, the MJPS is sub­ject to a higher rate of dis­ci­pline files. The depart­ment is re­ported to have 54 of­fi­cers and 11 files con­cluded in 2016-2017. Prince Al­bert, the city clos­est to Moose Jaw in terms of pop­u­la­tion if not po­lice pres­ence, saw 16 files in a force of 93 of­fi­cers. Regina re­ported 33 files for 391 of­fi­cers. It should be said that the ma­jor­ity of the files in all cities were ei­ther clas­si­fied as no of­fence against dis­ci­pline or non-dis­ci­plinary dis­po­si­tion. Only one of­fi­cer, out of Este­van, was dis­missed from ser­vice.

“The re­al­ity is some­times peo­ple aren’t happy with the ser­vice pro­vided, and they have a rea­son that leads them to mak­ing a pub­lic com­plaint,” Pilsworth said.

“Our po­lice ser­vice re­spects that process and would never stand in the way of that process.”

He also said work­ing with the com­mu­nity to me­di­ate is­sues and be­ing as trans­par­ent as pos­si­ble are part of the MJPS ethos.

“There are no dis­missals, no re­me­dial ac­tion, and no for­mal ac­tion in our files,” Pilsworth noted. “Those are the most im­por­tant ones.”

Peach de­clined to com­ment on the num­ber or ra­tio of Moose Jaw’s dis­ci­pline files com­pared to other ju­ris­dic­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.