Joint Statement on Anti-Racism Public Hearings from the Calgary Police Commission, Calgary Police Service, Calgary Police Association and CPS Seniors Officers Association:

July 9, 2020

As we listen to the public hearings underway this week at City Council, we see the courage demonstrated by many Calgarians who are bringing forward their experiences with racism in Calgary. We hear those experiences. We acknowledge that systemic racism exists in all our institutions and we are committed to taking action. Every citizen should feel safe and every citizen should be able to trust that police will treat them fairly. Building this trust requires constant, consistent and intentional work.

While CPS has recently met with some community advocates, we agree with Dr. Malinda Smith that additional engagement is needed between police and racialized communities. We will reach out today to invite Dr. Smith and members of the City’s expert advisory panel to debrief on the public hearings, to help identify additional groups to work with, and to work with us on the next steps for the Calgary Police Service.

It is our goal to continue meaningful engagement and make real changes toward ending systemic racism. We want to thank the community for making recommendations and for their willingness to stay engaged as we work to improve public safety for citizens and enhance confidence in the Calgary Police Service. We know that the members of the Calgary Police Service who have committed their lives to making Calgary a safe place to live look forward to joining the community’s efforts toward building a more inclusive city.

Chair Bonita Croft, Calgary Police Commission
Chief Mark Neufeld, Calgary Police Service
President John Orr, Calgary Police Association
President Gerry Francois, Calgary Police Senior Officers Association


Black Lives Matter – Chair’s Message

Recent events in the United States that have re-ignited social action against institutional racism has forced us all to look at ourselves, our work, and our society, and to acknowledge that we all have a responsibility to stand against racism.

I speak for us all on the Calgary Police Commission when I say that we condemn anti-black racism, and racism and prejudice in all forms. We stand in solidarity with our black, Indigenous and people of colour colleagues, families and citizens.

The Commission - a group of citizen volunteers and two city councillors- has a responsibility to make sure the police service is responsive to community needs. Our role is to listen to concerns that Calgarians are bringing forward and to incorporate those views into how CPS is resourced and operated.

We know that there are differences between policing in America and policing in Canada. Although we are different, we are not so different that we can’t reflect on ways that police in Calgary can better serve all members of our community. We still have much more to learn to be able to meaningfully address this issue so we can support real change within our community.

We have confidence that CPS leadership also takes this issue seriously. Together, we have already begun the work of re-envisioning the strategic plan of the organization, which includes ensuring a focused commitment on inclusion and diversity both within the CPS and in its relationships with the community.

The events of recent weeks have reinforced the need and the urgency for this work to continue and we will do so. We will develop a plan of action that involves listening to citizen experiences, improving our literacy on racism, and showing our city’s black, Indigenous, and people of color communities that they don’t have to fight this battle alone.

We are eager to participate in broader community conversations about the purpose of policing and how policing intersects with social issues and thinking about whether there are better ways to serve all citizens. We are pleased to hear that Police Act modernization is a priority for the Province and look forward to engaging in that process.

Your perspective matters to us and we are committed to continuing to serve and to listen. We invite citizens to contact the Commission directly at cpced@calgarypolicecommission.ca.

Sincerely,
Bonita Croft
Chair, Calgary Police Commission


Former Chair Celebrated as Citizen of the Year

June 15, 2020

Today, the City of Calgary recognized past Calgary Police Commission Chair Brian Thiessen with a Calgary Award for Citizen of the Year. The Calgary Awards are the City’s official citizen recognition program celebrating Calgarians for their outstanding achievements and significant contributions to making our city a better place to live.

As Chair of the Commission and a member of the Calgary Police Foundation board, Brian brought an uncompromising vision and showed courage by using his voice to represent the views of his community.

His contributions have been significant and set the foundation for a safe and resilient community for many years into the future. Brian carried the ball forward on efforts to improve diversity and gender equity within CPS and on the Commission and redefined expectations for openness and inclusive decision-making in Calgary’s biggest and most important public institution.

Focused on the important work at hand, the Commission will keep pressing forward with changes needed to improve trust between CPS and the community.


Calgary Police Commission survey of Calgarians now underway

May 11, 2020

The Calgary Police Commission is conducting a telephone survey of Calgarians to understand how citizens feel about the Calgary Police Service. This includes hearing how citizens feel about the precautions CPS is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to keep the city safe.

Independent research companies Illumina and Elemental are conducting the phone survey throughout May and June.

The survey is registered with the Canadian Research and Insights Council to allow individuals to verify the legitimacy of the project. To confirm this is a registered market research survey, visit https://www.canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/rvs/home/ and enter the Project Code 20200303-IL435.

For any other questions, please email cpced@calgarypolicecommission.ca


Letter to Calgary Police Service from the Calgary Police Commission

March 22, 2020

Dear Calgary Police Service members,

On behalf of the 1.3 million Calgarians we represent, we want to express our gratitude and appreciation for the work you are doing around the clock to keep all of us safe.

We know that the Calgary Police Service is always at the ready to respond to the greatest of challenges. We have not forgotten how your members worked tirelessly and braved the risks that their jobs require during the 2013 flood and how you eagerly offered assistance during the 2015 Fort McMurray wildfires.

We also know, however, that COVID-19 has challenged our city and country on an unprecedented scale, and that we are asking more of you now than ever before. In working to protect this city, you are facing the additional risks of exposure to the virus. At the same time, you have families and friends whose health and safety weighs on your minds.

This situation is testing the strength and spirit of all of us. Your ability to persevere during this challenge is a source of hope for those around you.

Circumstances like this make it clear that policing is not just a job. Policing is a selfless act of service to your community. It does not go unnoticed.

To the nearly 3000 CPS employees – sworn and civilian – who are playing a vital role supporting our community, we thank you for your service and commitment. And to the family members and friends who are supporting our CPS members, we thank you for your sacrifice.

If we could ask one more thing of you, it would be to take care of yourselves. Stay safe and healthy. Use the wellness supports available and speak up if there is anything else you need.

Your leaders are strong, experienced and well-organized and they are putting the needs of CPS members and the community at the forefront of every decision. You can have confidence that your leaders are highly committed to your safety and wellness. As they continue to work hard to support you, the Commission will have their back every step of the way. We must, and we will, make sure that you have the resources you need to continue to serve our community during this time of crisis.

Like the city itself, Calgary Police Service employees are resilient. Together we will overcome this situation and emerge stronger.

Bonita Croft, Chair - On behalf of the Calgary Police Commission


Update from the Commission

March 16, 2020

The health and safety of our staff, our CPS colleagues and our community is always our priority. To prevent the spread of this virus, we have made the difficult decision to close our office temporarily and until further notice.

Our staff are still working to support Commission operations and can be reached by phone or email. • If you have a general enquiry, please call 403 428-8914 or email cpced@calgarypolicecommission.ca • If you have a question about the complaint process or would like to file a complaint against a police officer, please email cpced@calgarypolicecommission.ca • Media seeking information or requesting an interview with the Chair can call the media line at 587-888-1345

The Commission still plans to meet with the Calgary Police Service on March 31. At this time, we are exploring options about how to hold this meeting in a way that respects Alberta Health Services and CEMA recommendations, while still ensuing citizens and media have access to discussions and decisions. We will provide an update as soon as possible.

The safety of CPS officers and transparency with the community will inform the decisions we make. We appreciate your understanding.

Public Meetings

Calgary Police Commission next public meeting:

September 29, 2020 - 3:30 pm

Please Note: Calgarians still have an opportunity to be heard by the Commission. Please reach out to cpced@calgarypolicecommission.ca to discuss your options.

About the CPC

Mission Statement

To provide independent civilian oversight and governance of the Calgary Police Service to ensure a safe community.

Responsibilities of the Police Commission

The Calgary Police Commission is a statutory body created under the Alberta Police Act. The Calgary Police Commission has the following legislated responsibilities: to allocate funds provided by City Council, done in consultation with the Chief of Police; to establish policies providing for efficient and effective policing; to issue instructions as necessary to the Chief in regards to those policies; and to ensure sufficient persons are employed by the Service to carry out the functions of the Service.

The Calgary Police Commission is responsible for appointing the Chief of Police and evaluating his or her performance. The Police Commission issues directions to the Calgary Police Service through the Chief of Police. The Chief is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Police Service.

Additionally, the Calgary Police Commission monitors the public complaints process; handles complaints regarding the Chief of Police; and handles appeals regarding the policies of, or services provided by, the Calgary Police Service.

The Calgary Police Commission is accountable to the Alberta Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security and operates in accordance with the Calgary Police Commission bylaw, set by the City of Calgary.

Role of the Calgary Police Commission

The Calgary Police Commission is the civilian body to which the Calgary Police Service is accountable. Members of the Police Commission are appointed by Calgary City Council and oversee policing in the city. Members make decisions and issue instructions as a statutory body under the Alberta Police Act.

Why have a Police Commission?

RELATIONSHIP TO ALBERTA JUSTICE

The Calgary Police Commission is accountable to Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. The Province sets the standards for effective policing in Alberta, and through the Police Act, sets out the requirements and responsibilities for police commissions, Public Complaint Directors, municipalities, and police services.

We uphold and value the core principles of police oversight in Alberta:

  • The participation of the public in determining the priorities is essential.
  • The police service must be accountable to the public.
  • The police service must operate in the absence of political influence.

The Calgary Police Commission remains committed to fulfilling our legislated responsibilities, as well as our responsibilities outlined in the Alberta Policing Oversight Standards. The standards require police oversight agencies to ensure efficient and effective policing, and to provide a way to receive and monitor public complaints against the police service.

When last measured in 2015, the Calgary Police Commission achieved full compliance with the Provincial Policing Oversight Standards. A review by the Province confirmed that the Commission has welldeveloped policies and practices that promote and support police oversight.

RELATIONSHIP TO CALGARY CITY COUNCIL

The Police Act provides for the city to establish a municipal commission. The Calgary Police Commission operates in accordance with the City’s Calgary Police Commission bylaw. The bylaw reiterates and refines the responsibilities of the Commission, and outlines its duties and procedures, including for the creation and appointment of members. City Council appoints members to the Calgary Police Commission, drawing upon the expertise and experience available in the community.

In consultation with the Chief of Police, the Commission is responsible for allocating funds for policing that are provided through City Council. The Commission regularly provides reports and presentations to City Council on the financial status of CPS, and works to ensure information flows seamlessly between the Commission, CPS, and the City.

Each year, the Calgary Police Commission and the Calgary Police Service present an annual report to the Standing Policy Committee on Community and Protective Services. This includes a report on the activities and highlights from the previous year.

The Commission also presents to the City’s Audit Committee to provide annual financial statements and the results of the annual financial audit.

We continually strive to ensure we have a strong working relationship with our partners, including the City of Calgary.

How does the Calgary Police Commission fulfill its mandate?

ADVOCACY

Part of the Commission’s role involves advocating for legislative and other changes that may improve the ability of the police service to improve safety and effectively serve the community. In 2017, the Commission’s advocacy efforts included sponsoring a resolution at the Alberta Association of Police Governance, and conversations with the Province endorsing broad Police Act reforms, supporting CPS’s position on supervised consumption sites, engaging with community partners to facilitate CPS’s inclusion and full participation in Pride events, and encouraging city councillors to support a budget increase for CPS to hire more members in 2018.

FINANCE & AUDIT COMMITTEE

This committee works closely with CPS on closely analyzing the budget allocated by city council to ensure funding is dedicated to the strategic priorities outlined in its 2015-2018 business plan, and to ensure CPS has the resources it needs to keep the city safe.

COMPLAINT OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

With the support of the Public Complaint Director, this committee monitors and oversees the public complaint process. While CPS is responsible for investigating complaints, the Commission and the Public Complaint Director ensure investigations are thorough, fair to all parties, and are conducted in accordance with laws and policies.

GOVERNANCE & PERSONNEL COMMITTEE

As part of the Commission’s responsibility to establish policies for efficient and effective policing, this committee considers the financial, privacy, personnel, and public interest implications of CPS policies and decisions. This committee also establishes the evaluation framework and evaluates the performance of the Chief Constable.