By Tim Kalinowski on December 23, 2020.
In a surprise move, Lethbridge Police Commission chair Simon Griffiths has resigned from all his duties on the commission.
“I have committed half a decade to serving on the Lethbridge Police Commission and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time,” Griffiths said in a statement released to the media on Tuesday.
“I have had the opportunity to meet many of the dedicated LPS members and staff who come to work each day and perform their jobs to the highest professional and ethical standards. The residents of Lethbridge should be very proud of the police service they have protecting their safety and well-being each day.”
“I have given a great amount of energy to this position over the last five years,” Griffiths concluded, “and now feel it is time to move on to new endeavours. I would like to thank all of my fellow Commission colleagues for their efforts and dedication. It has been an honour and a privilege to be a part of this important work.”
Griffiths did not elaborate on what was behind his decision, but it has been a challenging year for commissioners.
There’s the recent funding cut of $1 million to the Lethbridge Police Service, an official censure from the Law Enforcement Review Board over the commission’s handling of an officer complaint about Deputy Chief Scott Woods earlier this year, the revelation that LPS officers carried out an unauthorized surveillance of MLA Shannon Phillips when she was Environment and Parks minister, and the social media blow-up over incident which has infamously become known at “Stormtrooper Gate” after LPS officers drew weapons and forcefully arrested a young woman posing as a stormtrooper to promote a local business back in May.
All of this against the challenging social backdrop of the “Defund the Police” movement which grew in influence throughout 2020.
“The rest of the Commission has been notified of this change and work is underway to recruit a new chair and appoint a new member to the commission,” a statement released by the City of Lethbridge on Griffith’s abrupt resignation reads. “This is anticipated to happen in the new year. Given no decisions have been made to replace Mr. Griffiths, there will be no other media comments on this change.”
Griffiths was appointed chair of the Lethbridge Police Commission in late January, replacing outgoing Chair Peter Deys.
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