By Jensen, Randy on May 27, 2020.
Chief of Police Scott Woods is defending the honour of the Lethbridge Police Service after recent news coverage which, he says, “casts aspersions not just on me, serving as Chief of Police, but on the vast majority of the people who serve the City of Lethbridge as a part of the Police Service.”
It is not clear which specific news reports Woods was responding to when he released a statement on the matter on Tuesday, but the LPS has been in the news a lot recently with the stormtrooper incident on May 4 and after a recent decision by the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board chided the Lethbridge Police Commission for not fully investigating an unproven complaint of bullying and harassment made by an officer against Woods when he was still Deputy Chief.
“On a certain level, there is brokenness within the Service,” Woods acknowledges later in the same statement. “However, much of that dysfunction is derived from a small minority working within the organization who are more concerned with protecting their own interests and influence than maintaining the ideals of serving the public. When this small group of individuals is held to account for their own misconduct, or perhaps denied a workplace request, they often lash out and accuse others of being bullies.
“I,” Woods adds, “and a continuous line of chiefs serving before me, have tried to address this toxicity and bring reforms to the corporate culture. We have met with varying degrees of success. It certainly does not help when anti-reform elements can run to friends in the media, often with anonymity, to uncritically air what amounts to their personal grievances.”
Woods goes on to state he was aware this toxicity “would be one of my great challenges when the Police Commission asked me to serve as Chief of Police on an interim basis.”
Lethbridge Police Association president Jay McMillan said it was not just members’ responsibility to contribute to a more productive relationship, but everyone associated with the police service.
“In response to the statement, and in response to the totality of events that surround it, it is unfortunate this has to play out in a public forum,” said McMillan. “Honestly, it’s affecting everyone. But I think what this is really about, to an extent, is the four-legged table. It’s a partnership issue. By that, I mean a four-legged table which includes four entities: the police service, the police association, the police commission, and the City of Lethbridge. Without the steadiness of any one of those entities, we tend to lose stability.”
McMillan hoped everyone involved would stop airing his or her dirty laundry in public and get down to resolving some of these issues constructively and in a way which betters the overall police service for all parties.
“It emphasizes the need we all have to work together,” he said. “It’s about relationships, and how you foster those in a well-informed, healthy and proactive way.”
To read Chief Woods’ full statement visit the Lethbridge Police Service website at https://www.lethbridgepolice.ca/statement-by-chief-of-police-scott-woods-issued-in-response-to-recent-news-coverage-of-disgruntled-officers.
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