Calgary’s Police Chief and Mayor Naheed Nenshi are trying to reassure residents that abuse allegations within the police service are being addressed.
The pair addressed a controversial Calgary Police Service workplace review from 2013 at a news conference on Tuesday.
The review uncovered over 60 complaints from members of the CPS claiming they were subject to bullying, sexual harassment and intimidation.
Chief Roger Chaffin again stressed change won’t happen overnight.
“You’re talking about a culture of policing that is decades and decades old and we are redirecting the ship, and that doesn’t happen overnight so I’m very sensitive to the idea that even if one employee is experiencing what they believe to be bullying we actually want to understand and take demonstrable, meaning actions going forward.”
Chaffin says he has no problem with criticism of CPS but he doesn’t like inaccurate information. Mayor Naheed Nenshi agrees.
“There’s been an extraordinary temptation over the last week to take sides, to either say this is a terrible work environment, it’s completely non-inclusive, or everything is absolutely fine, move along, nothing to see here. Neither of those are particularly helpful. What we have to do is acknowledge what works, we have to acknowledge what doesn’t work, and we have to strive to be better.”
Chaffin and Nenshi were joined by Calgary Police Commission (CPC) Chair Howie Shikaze at Tuesday’s news conference.
Chaffin had previously responded to the workplace review in an open letter to citizens posted to Facebook last week, in which he said the allegations made are “not reflective of the almost 3,000 employees of the service.”
Chaffin said recommendations made in the 2013 workplace review have been implemented “to a great extent” and that their human resources practices are “as modern and evolved as any professional and progressive organization.”
On Monday, the CPC released a strongly worded statement saying they have “full confidence that Chief Chaffin is taking decisive action with the goal of making our city a safer place and CPS a stronger and more progressive police service.”
With files from Gary Bobrovitz.