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'They’ve been struggling': Sask. government calls independent review of Prince Albert police


The Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety has appointed a former Edmonton police chief to conduct an outside review of the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS).

A news release from the Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners Wednesday said that the independent review would report on the “challenges, needs, relationships and operations of policing in Prince Albert.”

Christine Tell, the provincial minister of corrections and policing, told reporters at the legislature on Thursday that Prince Albert police are struggling to meet expectations and the level of calls for service.

“They’ve been struggling, as we have witnessed over the last year or so and there’s been concerns, complaints, coming in from the public. They’re not feeling as safe as they should, and every citizen should feel safe in their communities,” she said.

“We need the police to operate at a high level.”

Tell said she still has confidence in the force.

In its statement, the board acknowledged the police service has come under the scrutiny of a number of independent bodies in recent months, including the Saskatchewan Police Commission, the Coroner’s Service, and the Public Complaints Commission.

In February, the Public Complaints Commission was asked to investigate after Prince Albert police arrested a mother in an early-morning domestic dispute call, only to return to the same house several hours later to find her 13-month-old son dead. The boy’s father was charged with second-degree murder.

Former Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht was appointed to conduct this newly-announced review. Knecht served as chief in Edmonton for seven years. In 2019, the United Conservative Party in Alberta appointed him to a commission reviewing the use of supervised consumption sites in the province.

“The firm’s principal, Rod Knecht, is understood to have an extensive resume in police administration in multiple provinces with the RCMP and as a chief of police in the municipal policing sector,” board Chair Darcy Sander said in the statement.

Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dion said the board and police administration have been working to promote public confidence in the service in recent months.

“We have worked hard to develop a very highly complimented business model for policing for our City and have more recently initiated some processes to promote internal dialogue within the Service. We hope these initiatives will provide a good head start to the work that Mr. Knecht will undertake." 

Knecht is scheduled to begin his review on Nov. 14, Tell said.

-With files from Wayne Mantyka Top Stories

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