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Greater administrative demands on police forces

Posted on July 10, 2019 by Taber Times

By Greg Price
Taber Times

An audit will be coming in the future for the Taber Police Service and the service is confident it has the tools to pass it with flying colours.

Taber Police Service met with the provincial standards co-ordinator and learned its audit will be coming some time around late 2021/early 2022.

“In establishing performance measures for the police service, you will see that there is a criteria where we have to establish a set of metrics and then do an audit against those set of metrics. (We) go over the five categories of performance that the province has just released to us and develop strategies within our organization to establish those metrics and then to assess them,” said Graham Abela, police chief for the Taber Police Service at the Taber Municipal Police Commission’s June meeting.

“That is a significant step and something within the business pan that I have been pushing for since I became chief. We now have some leadership from the province which we now have that we have been waiting for and I expect some decent headway coming from that.”

Standards compliance has been ramped up according to Abela.

“It is a lot of work. The standards compliance and amount of work going in to making sure that the standards are compliant are a ton of work. They are requesting between 25 per cent to 75 per cent of a full-time equivalent position be dedicated to this work,” said Abela.

Commission member and town councillor Joe Strojwas was not necessarily comfortable with the trends he is seeing in policing with its higher administrative demands.

“I find it kind of humourous where you now have to have a business plan and do all these audits. It has gone beyond boots on the ground to reporting and auditing and business plans. It takes officers off the street to complete all of this. It can be overwhelming at times seeing all the audits and reports that need to be done,” said Strojwas.

Abela added it is one of the most significant shifts that have occurred in policing in the last 10 years.

“It is something we have had to address. It does allow for appropriate oversight as well as it demonstrates that the police service is adequate and effective,” said Abela.

Police commission chairman Ken Holst wondered if the trend in recent years for greater demand for accountability/administrative tasks is a spill-over effect from what is being seen elsewhere in the United States.

“Especially State side, with greater scrutiny with some of the events you’ve seen happening with police incidents,” said Holst.

“There’s some places in the States where it is shoot first, ask questions later. Maybe this is some fallout from that,” replied Strojwas.

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