LETHBRIDGE, AB – The Chief of the Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) says if anyone is found guilty of misusing LPS databases, they will be held accountable for misconduct.
Shahin Mehdizadeh spoke with media on Wednesday (Mar. 10), regarding allegations that multiple officers used police databases to search Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips‘ name for no investigative purpose, back when she was the province’s Environment Minister.
All those allegations are currently under investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT). The LPS says it’s respecting that process and will not be commenting on any specifics of the matter at this time.
Chief Mehdizadeh does stress, though, that “every citizen deserves the right to privacy when it comes to that information”, and acknowledges the severity of such allegations. He also argues that this matter comes down to individual conduct, not the attitude of the service as a whole.
“Let’s just focus on those wrong-doings and hold those people accountable, instead of putting the whole organization down. A lot of good people here are doing their best every day to serve this community.”
Justice Minister Kaycee Madu met with Mehdizadeh on Tuesday (Mar. 9), and Mehdizadeh confirms that comments were made that if the situation doesn’t improve, the province would consider stepping in to take further action.
As these investigations continue, Mehdizadeh is asking Lethbridge residents to be patient and he assures that the proper processes are taking place to prevent incidents like this from happening again.
“The more serious the allegations are, the longer these processes tend to take. That’s nothing that has any reflection of the department not doing anything… I just want to reassure the community that we are doing whatever we can to make sure we are holding people accountable, and we continue to do what we can rebuild trust with the community.”