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Transparency in Police Governance

 

The Edmonton Police Commission issued the following statement:

“The Edmonton Police Commission understands and appreciates the ongoing discussion about police governance and accountability, and we are committed to ensuring Edmontonians have the information and responsiveness required to ensure effective policing across the city.

“Effective governance requires that all partners within the governance framework respect the unique role each other plays. The governance framework in Alberta, and across Canada, seeks to ensure political decision making is kept arm’s-length from policing.

“The Commission is the board of governors responsible under the Police Act to provide civilian oversight of the Edmonton Police Service (EPS). The Commission is unable to relinquish or share responsibilities required by the Act, because the legislation requires the police service to be under the supervision of the Commission.

“Edmonton City Council is a valued stakeholder for the Commission as they hold a vital role in establishing a budget for policing that ensures the right amount of police officers are providing safety and services to Edmontonians. This Commission understands Council’s role for establishing the fiscal framework for policing and we are seeking to work collaboratively in this space. Edmonton needs our relationship to be collaborative and constructive.

“The EPS budget, just like those of other City departments, is included in the City of Edmonton’s consolidated financial statements and already subject to an independent, external audit co-ordinated by the City on an annual basis. The Commission stands by the decision to preserve our internal audit function as it is currently structured, because audit material and topics outside of fiscal matters are solely the responsibility of the Commission. Our audit program is focused on internal risks to the organization, which is not something that would be shared publicly or with Council. Council does not have operational oversight of the police service and is unable to direct any operational recommendations that may result from any audit process. Therefore, the focus of any audit requested by Council should remain on its own areas of authority, which are limited to the finances of the police service.

“The Commission recognizes that Council is looking for additional levels of input and we have endeavoured to forge a working relationship with all councillors through monthly meetings with the Mayor, informal luncheons with council, individual meetings with councillors, responses to individual inquires, and working with councillor appointees to ensure Council as a whole understands policing legislation, policies and processes, as well as to ensure we each support our respective roles and the effectiveness of policing as a whole.

“On June 6, 2024, the Commission formally requested that Council meet with the Commission and an independent, third-party facilitator to improve our working relationship by examining the roles and responsibilities of Councillors and Commissioners so that we can move forward constructively for the benefit of all Edmontonians.

“We look forward to further dialogue with Council to embark on a path of building a more constructive relationship and to streamline our overall effectiveness at all levels.”