May 30th, 2024

LPS public inquiry set to proceed in the new year


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 4, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A public inquiry ordered by Minister Kaycee Madu in 2021, requesting the Law Enforcement Review Board to assess the Lethbridge Police Service regarding access and use of LPS databases and records management, is set to proceed in 2022.
According to a CBC article published on January 3, additional details and a new timeline into that inquiry are listed as part of correspondence between Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips and DDC Lawyers LLP, the law firm appointed as inquiry counsel under the Police Act, and it was originally submitted to CBC by Phillips, and later obtained by the Herald.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure what’s new, because we got a letter on May 13 from the justice minister saying that he is going to ask for a public inquiry in terms of the policies and procedures that the LPS has in regards to use of their information systems and record managing systems and we were told at that point that the LERB was going to head that inquiry,” said Rob Van Spronsen, chair of Lethbridge Police Commission.
Van Spronsen added that he knew the original plan was to have this all done by November of last year but for whatever reason the LERB – and he said he does not know exactly what the delay was – now the new deadline is July 31, 2022.
“So I think that the actual inquiry is going to be done, they want it by the end of April 2022,” said Van Spronsen.
Something that was not in the original letter from the minister is the fact that the public can now take part in the inquiry.
In the collection of documents obtained by the Herald, there is an application for individuals to receive standing as a participant and intervener, with a deadline of Jan. 10, 2022 for anyone who would like to participate in the public inquiry.
There are some stipulations in the document for applicants to follow, as anyone applying for participant standing must demonstrate a “substantial and direct interest in the subject of the inquiry” and those applying for intervener standing must demonstrate expertise, or a particular interest in the subject of the inquiry, including any recommendations that the board may make in its report.
The scope of the inquiry was stated in the letter signed by Minister Madu on May 13, 2021 where he stated that he will be asking the LERB to conduct a public inquiry in accordance with the procedures and powers set out in Section 20(1) of the Police Act and the Board’s Appeal Policies and Procedures.
“This inquiry does not look at anything specific, it is not intended to look at any specific incident. What it is looking at is the broader prospective, the broader picture of what are the policies and procedures of the LPS in regards of their information and database systems and how do they use it, how they access it and what are the safeguards,” said Van Spronsen.
Van Spronsen said that the commission is in charge of the policies and procedures of the LPS, which is why they are taking the lead on answering any questions regarding this process, as that is part of their governance.
“We certainly had an indication that the minister had called the inquiry but we had no details on it, either from the LERB or the department of justice and Solicitor General and I had confirmation from the chair of the LERB, but other than that I haven’t heard any details on terms of reference, scope of inquiry or timeline,” said Phillips.
Phillips added that she is very grateful that the minister asked for this inquiry, but is also asking for some clarity on where those documents are stored because the LERB and the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General have not made the documents public, and therefore those who would like to apply to take part in the inquiry have no way to do it.
“The only reason why they are public now is because I made them public and that seems a little strange,” said Phillips.
Phillips said that she initially gave the documents to the CBC in hopes that the public can access them, but she will also be publishing them on her website.

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gs172

Good. There has been more questions than answers since the actions of LPS officers saw the light of day the last couple years. I would like the inquiry to also look at the whistleblower accusations that got swept under the rug by the commission but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

JustObserving

Someone [ her lawyer perhaps ] needs to explain to Ms Phillips what her role is in a Public Inquiry. If she wishes to be accredited as a presenter or intervenor she should do so and then bring forward her allegations in a forum where they can be considered and examined rather than ” publishing ” on her social media website or running to the Liberal BroadCasting Corp. for coverage. Apparently the lesson taught by the exoriating comments of last year re making things too personal and interfering in the review process have been forgotten.

pursuit diver

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone
Phillips will not be happy until they are crucified! So let’s kill the moral, or what was left in the LPS by putting them further under a microscope! I just can’t believe this!
Is this justice or an elected politician abusing power?
These officers were dealt with! Let’s look at the crime committed and see the actions taken already! They did breach laws that hold them to a higher standard, but losing jobs, getting a pay reduction that will cost at least $15,000 per year for how many years have made the point!
Is this justice or has this turned into vengeful act by a politician! This is not justice!
How many million will this cost us? They were punished for the crime and that punishment was suitable for what little they did, but I guess politicians are ‘special’ demanding ‘special’ treatment, or should I say heavy handed revenge!
Truly, the justice system and the world has gone completely mad! I guess the ‘defund the police’ protesters Phillips was aligned with are celebrating with champagne. NDP will never get my vote! No much left after removing the UCP or NDP from the list. Liberals or WEXIT?

Last edited 2 years ago by pursuit diver