(Photo credit to MyLethbridgeNow.com - Sam Borsato)
LETHBRIDGE, AB – The Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) has made good on a request to develop an “action plan”, which was submitted to Justice Minister Kaycee Madu this week.
Madu had a stern warning for Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh in late March, that the local police service must work to clean up several internal issues and restore public trust or he would dissolve the LPS and bring in another force.
He gave the LPS a deadline of April 16, 2021 to submit that plan.
The Lethbridge Police Service only provided highlights of the report to media. Those include addressing ethics and leadership development, monitoring police efforts, protecting civil liberties and maintaining transparency.
The full report has not be provided top the public.
In an open letter to the public (shown below), Chief Mehdizadeh says this plan outlines key areas of improvement and how police will move forward in the weeks, months and years ahead.
He adds that he’s committed to ensuring “an accountable, resilient, healthy and vibrant organization” that Lethbridge residents can depend on.
Mayor Chris Spearman says he’s proud of the work that went into developing the action plan and hopes this will come as a chance to deal with any outstanding investigation efficiently and move the organization forward with a clean slate.
Lethbridge Police Association President Jay McMillan also issued a statement Wednesday.
He says the LPA sees the letter by Chief Mehdizadeh as “not only a response to negative publicity that our organization has faced … but a declaration of the continued commitment our Police Service and its members have to the citizens of Lethbridge and an evolving law enforcement profession.”
The statement goes on to say “the men and women of the Lethbridge Police Association are fully committed to working together with the Police Service in achieving the type of organization that the city of Lethbridge deserves.”
LPS Chief Mehdizadeh Statement on Action Plan
On Tuesday, we delivered our report as requested to The Honourable Kaycee Madu, M.L.A., Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
This report addresses a number of key areas for improvement for the Lethbridge Police Service and outlines how we will move forward in the coming weeks, months and years.
We have all seen the negative publicity the Lethbridge Police Service has received as of late. As a result, some citizens may be questioning the ethics and integrity of the men and women who serve you every day.
As I reflect back on the circumstances that have brought me to write this letter today, let me say this: I want to make a commitment to every citizen that we are on the right path moving forward. In order to move forward, we need to look at the mistakes made by some of our employees in the past which reflect negatively on the whole department. We will address those concerns through proper process, and ensure those responsible are held accountable with a legal, balanced approach. We are awaiting outcomes of some investigations that will come in due course. I ask for some patience as we navigate through these legal processes, learn from them and make positive changes so we can continue to provide this community with the service you deserve.
Each and every time you call 911, or meet an officer on the street, or with every other encounter you may have, I want you to feel that you will be protected, respected, and that we are working extremely hard to keep you and your families safe. There are many professional, ethical and amazing people in this Service who come to work every day to make a difference – these people are often times your neighbours, your kids’ coaches or your friends.
We will strive every day to keep your trust. My commitment is that we will make changes to ensure we have an accountable, resilient, healthy and vibrant organization to serve you. I hold myself accountable to every employee and every citizen in our community and I expect every employee to do the same.
At the same time, we are also offering our residents highlights of an ambitious and transparent action plan that addresses areas for improvement. The highlights will be available on our website at www.lethbridgepolice.ca under ‘Moving Forward: LPS Action Plan.’
Any updates and changes will be posted there for full transparency.
We will learn from our past as we pave a professional and trustworthy path moving forward. I am inspired by the great sense of commitment and unity within the Lethbridge Police Service to make positive changes and better serve this community.
I sincerely thank you for reading my letter.
Yours in public service,
Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh