From Saskatoon StarPhoenix, September 22nd, 2017
An operational review of Saskatoon’s police service is complete, but it won’t be made public until a new chief of police is selected.
At a board of police commissioners meeting on Thursday, commission chair Darlene Brander said it’s important for the new chief to review the information.
“With the board deferring the release of the operational review, it gives the new police chief the ability to come on board and prioritize those recommendations,” she said.
Brander said the board wants to ensure the hiring of the new chief isn’t influenced by the report. Releasing the results of the review to the acting chief to determine recommendation priorities could create an “unfair playing field,” she said.
While it’s “disappointing” that police commission members and the public will wait longer to find out what the review found, it’s important for the board to get the timing right, Brander added.
The review, expected to cost about $200,000, delved into several aspects of the police service, from staff levels to spending.
Acting police chief Mark Chatterbok said he has “no concerns” about waiting to make the review public.
“The operational review is owned by the board of police commissioners,” he said. “It happens to apply to us as the Saskatoon Police Service, so it’s certainly within their purview to determine when to deal with the matter publicly.”
Mayor Charlie Clark, who also sits on the board, agreed with Brander’s remarks that delaying the report would not be ideal, but said it would be premature to release it now.
“Without that clarity about who the next chief is, the ability to meaningfully implement the recommendations will not be in place … So it will become one of those documents that shapes and informs the new police chief’s role and direction,” he said.
“I think in order to allow for these other processes to occur, it makes the most sense to wait.”
Chief Clive Weighill, who announced his retirement in late June, marks his last official day on Oct. 6. Selection of a new chief is not expected to be finalized until early 2018.
-Morgan Modjeski, Saskatoon StarPhoenix