April 18th, 2024

Motion calls for more police commission members

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on March 9, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

More members could be appointed to the Lethbridge Police Commission if an official business motion to be presented Tuesday to Lethbridge city council is approved.

Councillor Jeff Carlson will present the OBM calling on council to direct administration to prepare an amending bylaw to Bylaw 5969 to revise the number of public members on the commission to seven and “also incorporate any appropriate housekeeping bylaw amendment requests from the Police Commission that were presented to the Governance Standing Policy committee in March 2023and referred to Administration, and return to a city council meeting by the end of Q1 2024 for consideration for first reading.”

Presently, the commission has nine members which include two representatives of city council – Nick Paladino and Jenn Schmidt-Rempel being those currently serving. The rest are citizens at large and include chair Doug Thonton, vice chair Matthew McHugh, public complaints director Jen Visser, Brett Carlson, human resources committee chair Clement Esene, policy and governance committee chair Noella Piquette and Hunter Heggie.

The motion states that the Alberta Police Act states the maximum number of appointees to a municipal police commission can be 12. It notes there is a desire to increase the size of the local commission “to better represent the work and activities of this body, which has seen an escalation in their work in the last few years and as well has three subcommittees reporting to it.”

The commission submitted a letter to council on Dec. 4 requesting changes to Bylaw 5969 to facilitate as many as two additional appointments.

The motion calls for administration to report back to council by the end of the first quarter of this year with an amending bylaw for consideration of first reading.

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I support the Police Commission (PC) and I know they have a tough job, as well as with all committees, face a great deal of negative attacks on the job they do, making it hard getting anyone to serve on committees who are willing and capable, BUT I get concerned when there are too many committees and too many people on those committees who create more issues, than resolve them.
We have had committees focused on dealing with issues in the core of the city, yet not much has come out of those committees in dealing with downtown issues
The Downtown Lawlessness Reduction Task Force was making some progress and doing great work, before a group of people tried to shut it down. Luckily, it wasn’t shut down, but a review is being done to resolve some issues expressed.
I have noticed some committees have being useless, because the Chair would not listen to anyone on those committees who had a different train of thought than what her own motives were, so we must be very careful we don’t create more committees that become dysfunctional.
It is a tough job sitting on those committees and often many are unfairly attacked by the public.
The PC has gone through a tough couple of years and it is vital it is meeting the high demand it faces in dealing with the complex issues it faces in these times.

Last edited 1 month ago by ewingbt
Dennis Bremner

“The Downtown Lawlessness Reduction Task Force was making some progress and doing great work, before a group of people tried to shut it down. Luckily, it wasn’t shut down, but a review is being done to resolve some issues expressed.”
I find that an interesting comment ? Two people from U of L spoke to the legality of the setup of this Lawlessness Committee. The reaction was swift from Council- accusations of keyboard warriors etc etc.
So tell me what the difference between these two proposals are:
I proposed we move all the Addicts to a facility outside of Lethbridge. When I did, I was barraged with “legalities of what I proposed” , human rights were quoted etc etc.
When the City decides inadvertantly or not to circimnavigate the law, and does not get away with it, well, its open season on those that did the CITY A FAVOR by pointing out they were possibly in violation of their own statutes.
The same thing happens with Committees. If you believe that the City is going down the wrong path then forget a position on Committees. Committes at best are to be neutral and gather evidence then come to a conclusion.
If you look at anyone who presents at a Sub-Committee and is slightly off the predetermined approach, they are not asked questions and are not given more than there token 5 minutes. If you look at anyone presenting something the Council or subcomittee already agrees with, Council/ subcomittee members ask questions and thank the presenter etc etc.
We are where we are today beause of predetermination of what they believe is best for Lethbridge. They have found they are wrong, and do not want to be attached to these decisions. So you dump the bad ideas on LHA who is independant and it is assumed the can wash their hands of it.
Would a lawless committee be needed if anyone had listened to a different approach? We will never know but I can assure you of one thing, this is going to cost Lethbridge dearly and we aren’t even close to how bad it will get, even with the Lawlessness Committee.
People just have no idea. Some light reading for you, this is getting more “woke” as time marches on to a point its almost laughable if it was not so sad.
I truly feel really bad for the Blackfeet, they will suffer the consequences monthly. 50% death rate? 215 dead in 2 years, 90% Blackfoot, If you want to believe those who distort, then we had 240 people for the last two years and somehow 215 died and we still have 240
Until people actually start speaking the truth, its just BS piling up as high as the bodies! Where else can you garner millions and a career. have a 50% failure rate and hold SACPA meetings indicating you are a success?
Why not stop the deaths, period………it must be an onerous problem of smoke and mirrors to try to con people into the “savin lives” BS and 50% die. Perhaps we should try longer than the time it takes to administer Naloxone, rather novel idea eh what?
I apologize to the Blackfeet for our total and complete incompetence !

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis Bremner

Sad that you feel that way Dennis! Funny that Belanger and you were always at odds, now the enemy of my enemy is my friend?
You still just do not get! The facility you planned doesn’t have the approval of the Kainai Council and would never be approved or allowed without it. I like Alvin Mills and his dedication for his people and perhaps he should get involved with some of the treatment facilities.
I have also tried to make it clear to you it wouldn’t resolve the issues on our streets in the downtown area . . . this is the area of operations for those people who sell prostitutes/drugs and other contraband as they hang out all night, damaging property, spraying graffiti, and stealing breaking and entering. Let’s not forget the fires as well and garbage strewn by this group of criminals. They are not the truly homeless! These are the criminals who have been allowing to increase in numbers on our streets.
Your facility plans are not well thought out! It will fail! The Kainai already have a detox center operational, what is needed now is more treatment beds for those with mental health and addiction issues, increased drug courts with tougher legislation with laws being enforced. Treatment for mental health or addiction and placement after or jail and if incarerated, no more drugs allowed in jails! You are flogging a dead horse with your continued facility plans . . .when are you going to realize that!
I didn’t see you at any of the task force meetings. You comment on my comment of some progress . . . and I guess if you had been to one of the meetings or talked to some of the members as I have, you may understand they have made some progress, and I have seen progress on the street . . . the task is complex!
Let me remind you that there have been many committees that have had members serving on other committees, but the one the has been singled out is the one which gave the biggest hope of seeing change in our downtown! You don’t live downtown . . . I do and I have been fully engaged in the issues and yes I read that article about the safe supply drugs!
I have followed the news in centers across North America . . . they are all waking up and realizing these progressive approaches, specifically ‘harm reduction and the reduction in law enforcement has failed and are moving on charging those with small amounts of drugs and banning open drug use . . . a few are Washington, D.C., Oregon state, San Francisco, Seattle, WA . . .
It is sad to see Indigenous seeing such high rates of fatal overdoses and part is because of their own policies, including the banishing of troublemakers/dealers and allowing gangs to flourish in their community. Their issues then become our issues on our streets, adding high costs to society.
The fatal overdoses across the province are flawed . . . When you go onto the AB substance use surveillance data online and look at Lethbridge for fatal overdoses, it incompasses the region taking in multiple communities, yet many believe the stats are just for the city.Add up the numbers of the cities you are allowed to select for data and you get the total of the whole province. It doesn’t separate Coaldale, Coalhurst, etc., or was the person pronounced dead in Lethbridge after transporting during life saving measures or other variables.
I support the current task force membership and as a reminder there area many laws that are not enforced, even in universities where academics often break policies and then find themselves in a jamb . . . Tony Hall for one and another who is outspoken continues to push the limits. What happened was a planned group effort to take down the task force by a group is never liked it and for do not want to see change downtown. It was and is noted by the citizens in this city and some of the other Councillors!
None of the other committees have put forth any changes to the issues downtown . . . none . . . they have done nothing to resolve the issues! This task force with the current members is what is needed to see the correct recommendations for change!

Last edited 1 month ago by ewingbt

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