Such instances promote a society where individuals govern their actions not on the basis of doing what's right, but on the basis of doing what they can get away with doing – the clear example of doing what they can get away with doing seemingly being demonstrated by the very agents of society who are charged with encouraging and enforcing doing what's right.
To counter this, the John Howard Society of Alberta believes that provision for the establishment of CR/CO bodies for Alberta municipal police services must be made in the Alberta Police Act Cap. P-17, RSA 2000. By so doing, an important first step to provide the opportunity to foster and encourage collaboration amongst the police and the citizenry will be given legislative sanction. But in addition, sufficient provincial funding to establish and maintain these bodies must also be made available.
Further, in our view these bodies must be the designated recipients of first contact for all complaints against police conduct; regardless whether these bodies have their own, civilian investigative resources, or utilize existing internal police investigative services, they must be the bodies to which reports on the progress and final outcome of the investigations are made; and finally, these bodies must then have the power, in the appropriate circumstances, to hold hearings, take evidence under oath, adjudicate the matter, and respond to the complainant, and recommend to the police service the appropriate steps to be taken following the conclusion of investigations or adjudication.
Establishment of these "independent" bodies, who are accountable to the Alberta Solicitor General and the Courts, will counter public mistrust of the police services and will, over time, demonstrate to the members of police services that the citizenry can be trusted to act in the best interests of the whole community – citizens and police.
The movement away from "us v. them" toward "we together" will begin.
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