Public inquiry into LPS to focus on ‘policies, procedures and practices’

Click to play video: 'Public inquiry into LPS to focus on ‘policies, procedures and practices’' Public inquiry into LPS to focus on ‘policies, procedures and practices’
With the new year comes more scrutiny for the Lethbridge Police Service, as a Law Enforcement Review Board inquiry is set to move forward. As Erik Bay reports, its focus will be on policies relating to LPS information databases. – Jan 4, 2022

New details have emerged for a public inquiry by the Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB) into the Lethbridge Police Service.

“The inquiry will not focus on specific incidents or events,” correspondence between inquiry counsel DDC Lawyers LLP, addressed to Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips reads.

“Rather, the focus will be on LPS policies, procedures and practices for information databases and record management systems over the last 10 years.”

Back in May, Justice Minister Kaycee Madu directed the board to conduct an inquiry over concerns regarding unauthorized access and use of LPS databases.

A statement provided by an Alberta Justice and Solicitor General spokesperson calls the allegations against LPS “sufficiently concerning.”

“The LERB inquiry is one of a number of initiatives underway to ensure the Lethbridge Police Service is effective, ethical and accountable to its community.”

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Phillips, who in 2017 was placed under unlawful surveillance by two LPS officers, said the inquiry gives people the chance to create accountability.

Read more: 2 Lethbridge police officers demoted after using positions for personal, political agendas

“The public needs to participate in this, that we need to have a broad reckoning for what they did and why they did it and how we can prevent it from ever happening again,” Phillips said.

The deadline for applications for standing is Jan. 10.

In November, the Lethbridge Police Commission (LPC) decided it would not move forward with its own public inquiry requested by a lawyer for Phillips and another Lethbridge woman, who had received whistleblower letters.

Read more: Public inquiry into LPS requested after whistleblower letters allege retaliation against MLA

“The LPC determined that the circumstances around the request are problematic and make a proper investigation particularly difficult,” LPC chair Rob vanSpronsen said in a statement at that time.

The inquiry must also look into proposed or implemented changes by LPS and determine if they sufficiently protect against unauthorized use of police resources.

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The deadline for the board’s report with its findings and recommendations is July 31; however, that date could be extended.

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge Chief of Police Shahin Mehdizadeh reflects on 2021' Lethbridge Chief of Police Shahin Mehdizadeh reflects on 2021
Lethbridge Chief of Police Shahin Mehdizadeh reflects on 2021 – Dec 28, 2021

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