Sask. RCMP commanding officer ‘wouldn’t stand in the way’ of civilian oversight

Mark Fisher was sworn in as the commanding officer of RCMP in Saskatchewan at an official ceremony on May 9 ,2019. File / Global News

The commanding officer of the Saskatchewan RCMP said he would support the province if it introduced civilian-led oversight for police.

The Ministry of Justice has said officials are exploring what options exist in other provinces, but there’s no timeline or commitments for any proposed changes.

Saskatchewan is one of the only jurisdictions without an independent civilian-led agency that investigates police actions that result in injury or death.

“We definitely wouldn’t stand in the way of anything like that,” assistant commissioner Mark Fisher told The Canadian Press on Thursday.

“We welcome anything that would enhance public confidence and public trust in the investigations of serious incidents involving police.”

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Without a stand-alone group, it’s common for another local police agency to review serious events such as officer-involved shootings. The Justice Ministry also appoints an independent observer to oversee investigations.

“I fully realize after several years in policing, I can’t control people’s perceptions,” Fisher said.

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“What I can do is assure people that we did (our) very best and professional job that we can with highly trained members to do those investigations.

“Having said that, I recognize that there are concerns in the public around perception of police investigating police.”

He added that an outside civilian-agency could alleviate some of those worries.

WATCH (July 2018): Renewed calls for independent police oversight in Saskatchewan

Click to play video: 'Renewed calls for independent police oversight in Saskatchewan'
Renewed calls for independent police oversight in Saskatchewan

Fisher, who is also president of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police, said he expects the topic to be discussed at the group’s next meeting in October.

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Fisher’s comment comes as the Regina Police Service is investigating a shooting earlier this week in which an RCMP corporal was shot and wounded during a traffic stop near Turtleford, about 90 kilometres east of Lloydminster.

RCMP said two officers returned fire and a man in the vehicle was injured.

A spokeswoman said the suspect remains in hospital and no charges have been laid.

Moose Jaw police also stepped in to investigate after a shooting in August involving a Mountie that left one man dead on the Fishing Lake First Nation, about 230 kilometres east of Saskatoon.

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