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?
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.
This committee leads the Commission’s efforts to become an anti-racist, equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization. On behalf of the Commission, this committee also takes a leadership role in overseeing the work of the Calgary Police Service as it becomes an anti-racist, equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization for every person who works there and every member of the Calgary community.
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.
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.
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.