November 29, 2016 5:25 pm
Updated: November 30, 2016 1:08 am

2016 Calgary Police Service employee survey shows members feel overworked and unsatisfied

WATCH ABOVE: The high number of officer-involved shootings this year is raising questions about the Calgary police force. The latest fatal shooting in Sunalta comes as a new survey suggests nearly half of police employees feel overworked and dissatisfied. Kim Smith reports.

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Two-thirds of Calgary Police Service (CPS) employees feel their work volume has increased from one year ago which is an issue listed as one of the key challenges the force is facing, according to a new poll.

On Tuesday, the Calgary Police Commission has released the results of its 2016 CPS employee survey.

The survey covered topics like workload, inclusivity, employee engagement, how safe Calgary is as well as whether members believe they will still be working for the service within one year.

Key findings from the survey showed close to one-half of employees said their job satisfaction is worse than one year ago.

“I take 100 per cent responsibility for it. That’s my job to lead the organization,” Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin said.

The report identified a number of contributing factors to low satisfaction and engagement results, saying 2016 has been a year of change.

“When you see that kind of number, it makes you stand up and take attention,” Brian Thiessen, chair of the Calgary Police Commission, said.

The 2016 CPS employee satisfaction survey identified a number of factors that played a role in the poor results.

Calgary Police Commission

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There were some positives that came from the survey, including that 95 per cent of respondents agree Calgary is a safe place to live.

Many employees agree the CPS is a diverse workplace, though there are concerns over favouritism and applying practices fairly.

Employee engagement among civilian members was at its highest point in 2016, but conversely hit its lowest level for sworn members over the eight years the survey has been conducted.

One of the challenges cited is the increasing number of Alberta Serious Incident Response Team investigations involving officers.

READ MORE: What we know about the 10 Calgary police-involved shootings in 2016

Thiessen said the high number of police-involved shootings this year is a concern but he’s confident the force is making changes.

“For members of the public who are concerned like the commission is concerned about police shootings, I’m cautiously optimistic that the service is heading in the right direction,” Thiessen said.

Chaffin said a policy change surrounding shooting at vehicles is in the works and he hopes it will take effect in early 2017.

“To make sure that it is contemporary, that it is a policy that provides an opportunity for safety (and) that it matches the expectation of modern policing in North America,” Chaffin said. “To make sure that we’re not somehow out of step of everybody else.”

Declining Numbers

A lack of employee satisfaction came to light after allegations of harassment were brought up in October when the results from a 2013 Calgary Police Service workplace review were shared.

READ MORE: Calgary police chief posts open letter in response to controversial workplace review

The 2016 survey pointed to senior leadership and communication being among the biggest concerns of unhappy employees, as well as overall change and workload over the past year.

Feelings of low morale and lack of clear direction were also identified as having a negative impact on employee perception of those working for the CPS.

Satisfaction with direct supervisors remained steady or higher compared to 2015.

To review the full report click here.

NOTE: The survey was conducted between a four week period between Aug. 26, 2016 and Sept. 21, 2016. For the past eight years the survey has been conducted by a third-party company, Illumina, on behalf of the Calgary Police Commission.

 An email link to the survey was sent to all 2,768 civilian and sworn members, 1,548 employees responded.

With files from Global’s Kim Smith

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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