June 18th, 2024

Police chief addresses Madu’s response during Lethbridge Chamber town hall


By Dale Woodard on June 2, 2021.

After receiving a letter from Alberta Minister of Justice Kaycee Madu earlier this month in regards to ongoing reform with the Lethbridge Police Service, police chief Shahin Mehdizadeh is asking for patience in the process.
Mehdizadeh was the guest speaker at the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce Virtual Town Hall session Tuesday morning.
Speaking at the one-hour online session, Mehdizadeh addressed the letter in which the Justice Minister said he was “disappointed” in the LPS’ reform plan which was submitted in mid-April amid allegations of officer misconduct.
The police service says it will be submitting a revised plan by June 25.
“We did receive a letter from the minister’s office that he was not satisfied with the action plan,” said Mehdizadeh. “Just to go back, when this action plan was being thought of, first of all, we had to look at addressing the minister’s initial letter that was sent to us as to what he wanted us to present in this action plan. They wanted to make sure we provided a high-level approach as to what we’re doing and some of the things we have put into place to ensure him we’re on the right track. These documents were sent to his office and were reviewed.”
In the letter, Mehdizadeh said the minister asked the LPS to provide more information in specific areas.
“(For example), he wants us to present him with our recruiting strategy and what we’re doing with the Lethbridge Police,” he said. “So we are fully engaged on that front right now and trying to give him any piece of information that he needs in addition to what we’ve presented, which is really diving down into information we’ve given him. He wants more information on that.”
Mehdizadeh said one comment Madu made is the need for a changed management strategy.
“It’s the changes we’re bringing into our operation and how we do things and how we engage our officers and everyone to move forward.
“The crime reduction strategy, that’s a changed management strategy. The changed management is a compilation of all the things we’re doing that are bringing a little bit of a change and tweaks into how we operate because we need this police department to be working as a police department for the year 2021. We need to bring in changes and we need to modernize the police department from every level.
“We are fully engaged in that process to provide the minister with everything he needs to satisfy him that we are on the right track and moving forward with this.”
In his presenation Tuesday, Mehdizadeh touched upon some pillars the LPS are focusing on and have shared with the community, such as ethics and accountability, able training, new recruitment, employee wellness and mental health education, communications strategies and working together for a safe community.
In Tuesday’s session, the likes of Lethbridge mayor Chris Spearman and Lethbridge MLA East Nathan Neudorf voiced their support for the LPS.
“That means a lot to our folks here,” said Mehdizadeh. “We’ve been a punching bag, for lack of a better word, as of late. But I’m still very proud of our men and women in this department who continue to get out there and serve this community despite the negative publicity and, really, some personal attacks on individuals.”
Mehdizadeh told the virtual gathering he brings an honest approach.
“That’s what they’re going to get from me,” he said. “Investigations are not complete, they’re on the go right now. I’ve asked the public from the beginning, let’s wait to get the facts before us. That’s all I’m asking. When it comes to accountability, I will hold people accountable when the facts are presented and if they’re established that there was misconduct. Absolutely. That’s my job and that’s what the public expects of the police department and I would never shy away from that. But I would ask the public to be patient.”
Spearman thanked Mehdizadeh for the information he presented in Tuesday’s session and voiced his support for the LPS along with City council.
“I think many of the things we needed to have happen, our new chief is delivering,” he said. “This is not an easy job or an easy time for a police chief. The City of Lethbridge has been under the provincial focus for some some time and certainly I and council will do everything we can to support the chief as we move forward with very positive changes.”

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pursuit diver

I am happy that the Minister is taking a strong stance in this matter, but I feel for the Chief, who is a well respected member in the Law Enforcement community and a kind and compassionate person who realizes now he has a major task at hand in resolving the issues that have plagued the LPS for years before he arrived! You have to respect this man for his patience and willingness to tackle this monumental problem.
It doesn’t matter how or why the LPS fell into this situation, what matters is the Chief choses to roll up his sleeves and do the job he was hired to do.
He needs the support of the community! Hopefully the threats by the Minister will help him put back in line some of the members that have lost their pathway! We have a lot of great men and women on this police force and like any other workforce, there are always a few bad apples or people that just need some leadership!
I for one applaud this man and if anyone of you took the time to speak with him, you would as well!

Last edited 3 years ago by pursuit diver