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Alberta justice minister calls alleged actions of Lethbridge police ‘completely unacceptable’

Click to play video: 'Alberta justice minister responds to allegations made about members of Lethbridge Police Service' Alberta justice minister responds to allegations made about members of Lethbridge Police Service
WATCH ABOVE: On Wednesday, Lethbridge’s police chief addressed a number of high-profile complaints against some officers in the organization. Alberta’s justice minister is calling the officers’ actions completely unacceptable. Quinn Campbell explains – Mar 11, 2021

On Thursday, Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu called out the alleged actions of some Lethbridge police officers.

“I want action now. The time for talk is over,” he said.

“It’s clear to me that what is going on there is completely unacceptable.”

On Wednesday, the Lethbridge Police Service chief addressed a number of high-profile complaints against some officers.

The most recent allegations involve Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips, who said she was the target of potentially unauthorized police database searches.

Read more: MLA Shannon Phillips discusses ‘shocking’ information about Lethbridge police revealed in FOIP request

“I also reached out to Ms. Philips to express my disappointment and to assure that the commission, the service and my department will get to the bottom of this and hold the individuals involved responsible,” said Madu.

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Lethbridge-West MLA reveals more details related to police surveillance investigation – Mar 8, 2021

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has nine open investigations in relation to LPS.

In comparison, Medicine Hat Police Service has one.

There are also internal investigations underway into the alleged incidents with LPS.

Read more: Lethbridge police promise to cooperate fully with investigation into alleged unauthorized checks on MLA

Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh said he knows these type of concerns can damage the public’s trust and said steps are being taken to improve relationships with the public and within the department.

“Right now the first step is to clean up some of these investigations,” Mehdizadeh said.

“Really, we have to make sure we clean up the things we need to to move forward.”

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Click to play video: 'Lethbridge police chief responds to complaints involving members' Lethbridge police chief responds to complaints involving members
Lethbridge police chief responds to complaints involving members – Mar 10, 2021

The chief started with LPS just six months ago and said he has and will continue to put emphasis on hiring officers with the right values.

“Skills can easily be taught but we need to make sure we hire and promote people who have good characters and core values that parallel the core values of the organization,” he added.

Read more: Lethbridge police chief weighs in after ASIRT launches investigation into surveillance of former minister by officers

Mehdizadeh said he believes the vast majority of members and staff are committed to objective policing.

Now, the chief, and the Lethbridge Police Commission chair, who was just appointed in January, will work towards resolving the issues.

“The most serious of these events that we are dealing with occurred before their time.

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“I think it is important that I give them the opportunity to prove that they are serious about getting to the bottom of things,” added Madu.

Read more: ‘There is a problem in that dept.’: William Shatner criticizes Lethbridge police over Stormtrooper incident

He said he is optimistic his directions will be followed in a timely matter by LPS and the commission, but did also add if they are not met, he does have the ability, through the Police Act, to intervene.

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