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New Calgary Police Association president calls meeting, asks for ‘unity’

Click to play video: 'New Calgary Police Association explains why no members appeared at press conference' New Calgary Police Association explains why no members appeared at press conference
WATCH ABOVE: New Calgary Police Association president Les Kaminski says citizens and media have legitimate concerns over the amount of police shootings in Calgary – Jan 11, 2017

The Calgary Police Association (CPA) is holding a news conference Wednesday to introduce its new president, who said he wants to make sure the CPA will be heard as they work to address internal issues and challenges police officers are facing in the city.

“I want to make sure that we have a voice and I want the members to be aware that I want to work with the [Calgary Police] Service and the commission to find some solutions,” Les Kaminski said Tuesday.

Kaminski said the 10 officer-involved shootings that took place in 2016 will be among issues that need to be discussed.

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“That’s why we want to get together with the commission, get together with the Service so we can come up with some solutions,” he said.

In an email obtained by Global News addressed to Calgary Police Service members, new CPA president Les Kaminski asked officers to attend a news conference, but only if they’re off duty and not in uniform.

WATCH:New Calgary Police Association president Les Kaminski explains why there are no members at the press conference despite his plea for them to stand behind him.
Click to play video: 'New Calgary Police Association explains why no members appeared at press conference' New Calgary Police Association explains why no members appeared at press conference
New Calgary Police Association explains why no members appeared at press conference – Jan 11, 2017

“We ask that any members attending wear PLAIN CLOTHES-NO UNIFORMS PLEASE,” he wrote.

Scroll down to read the full email

Kaminski didn’t provide details on the message in the email, just asked for members to “provide a backdrop” as he delivers a prepared message and answers any questions from reporters.

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“I believe that having you standing behind me will send a powerful message of unity and solidarity to the Executive, to the Police Commission and to the public.”

Police Chief Roger Chaffin declined to comment on Tuesday.

WATCH: A cryptic e-mail to hundreds of Calgary police officers has caught the chief and commission off guard. As Tracy Nagai reports, the officers are being asked to attend a meeting that could include a powerful message.
Click to play video: 'New Calgary Police Association president calls meeting, asks for ‘unity’' New Calgary Police Association president calls meeting, asks for ‘unity’
New Calgary Police Association president calls meeting, asks for ‘unity’ – Jan 10, 2017

“I think Roger’s heart is in the right place,” Kaminski said, when asked if he has confidence in Chaffin as police chief. “We were in the same class together and I think we can solve some issues.”

Calgary Police Commission Chair Brian Thiessen said he was “surprised” by the email Kaminski wrote.

“The part that surprised me was just reference to ‘we need to show the commission and the service that we mean business or that we’re serious’ – we take them very seriously,” he said. “I work with unions all the time. I’m looking forward to engaging them on the issues.”

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Thiessen said the “jury is out” when it comes to the tone Kaminski has set with his email to members.

“I can tell you when he met with me personally, he was open. We agreed to have frank discussions together. So if…someone leaks a memo on the president as he’s getting the ground under his feet as he starts working as president, I’m certainly not going to hold that against him. We’ll work well together, I’m confident of it.”

The news conference will be held at the Calgary Police Association offices at 1 p.m.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the police association said Kaminski will “provide a voice on behalf of the sworn police officers regarding areas of concern.”

Councillor Ward Sutherland, who sits on the CPC, said the commission will need “help from the unions” in order to deal with the “internal issues” within the CPS workplace.

“Overall, to discuss the direction we’re going the next couple of years, how we can work together to make it a better work environment for police and what the citizens need to make it safe,” Sutherland said.

Last year, the CPS came under scrutiny for a workplace review alleging harassment. The review uncovered over 60 complaints from members of the CPS claiming they were subject to bullying, sexual harassment and intimidation, spurring a public response from Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Chaffin.

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READ MORE: Calgary police workplace culture is improving, say Mayor Nenshi and Chief Chaffin

Read the email sent to the CPA members below:

Obtained by Global News

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