January 24, 2019 – The Medicine Hat Police Commission is responsible for providing overall direction, through support and guidance to the Chief of Police, to ensure a safe and secure community.
I would like to address some of the misconceptions that have been circulating throughout the community regarding the sharing of information between the police service, and the Police Commission.
The Police Commission has reviewed the observations document that was prepared by a local paralegal and distributed to various Medicine Hat media outlets.
Contrary to the allegations made in the document, the Police Commission was informed of internal surveys conducted by the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) and issues raised by the surveys. The Police Commission shared the MHPS Executive Team’s concerns about the issues identified and supported the steps taken to address the concerns and continue to do so.
Conversations about the surveys and actions taken by the Executive Team were conducted in various closed meetings held throughout 2017. City of Medicine Hat Bylaw 1651 and Police Commission Policy requires that personnel matters are dealt with in closed meetings and minutes of these meetings are not publicly available. Therefore, the findings of these internal surveys were not made public, as is the typical practice with employee surveys.
I want to assure the public that there are mechanisms in place to support any police member who has concerns about policies, or complaints about services provided by MHPS. In addition to internal MHPS policies, there are two external procedures in place. The first procedure falls under Sections 44 of the Police Act which provides a way to deal with complaints about the policies of a police service. The second external procedure is via the grievance process outlined in Section 41 of the Medicine Hat Police Association (MHPA) contract. The MHPA represents the men and women members of the MHPS. Alternatively, an individual could approach a member of the Police Commission (MHPC) at any time.
I can confirm that the Medicine Hat Police Commission has not received any concerns or complaints directly from staff, or through the Police Association regarding internal surveys conducted in 2017 or the subsequent actions taken by the MHPS as a result of the surveys.
It’s important to note that the surveys were initiated by the Office of the Chief to look for areas of improvement within the service and develop a plan to enhance the MHPS.
The Police Commission is a link between the community and the police with a mandate to balance the requirements of public accountability with those of police independence. The Police Commission is comprised of seven members, five of which are citizens from the community, and we remain committed to our role of providing oversight and guidance to the Chief of Police.
Mr. Greg Keen
Medicine Hat Police Commission