LETHBRIDGE, AB – Lethbridge Police say five employees within the service have been suspended with pay.

The suspensions are pending a professional misconduct hearing, however this is believed to be unrelated to previous allegations which were addressed last week by Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh.

The LPS has been in the spotlight recently after it was revealed some officers allegedly used police databases to search Lethbridge West MLA Shannon Phillips’ name for no investigative purposes.

That happened in 2018 when she was still Alberta’s Environment Minister. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team continues to investigate.

The Lethbridge Police Service issued a statement Monday afternoon regarding these suspensions:

Five employees have been suspended with pay pending a professional misconduct hearing, which falls under the Police Service Regulation and Police Act. Any disciplinary sanctions will be pending the outcome of that hearing process.

To protect the integrity of the hearing process, we cannot discuss the names of those being investigated or the nature of any evidence before it is introduced at the hearing. The particulars of the hearing will be posted to the Lethbridge Police website in due course, and it is expected the hearings will be public.

The 2018 incident was referred to an outside agency for investigation. Lethbridge Police received the findings of the investigation in late December, 2020, and have been reviewing the matter and ensuring the proper processes are in place moving forward. Outside legal counsel has been retained to prosecute the misconduct charges.

Lethbridge Police are unable to comment further at this time, but as the process unfolds and it is appropriate, we will provide updates.