Canada

Esteban Police Service investigation finds lack of trust in services, support

Investigators say service and morale have improved significantly and EPS now “delivers effective and professional service.”

Article content

A recently completed study of the work culture and operations of the Estevan Police Service (EPS) found several issues with public trust and the role of its committees.

advertising 2

Article content

Saskatchewan Police Commission Executive Director Corey Zahalk spoke at a news conference on Thursday about the divided relationship that had developed between EPS officials and senior leadership.

Article content

“The commission has started receiving multiple requests to intervene in serious conflicts that have arisen within the Esteban police force and are spreading throughout the community,” Zaharuk told the media.

The impetus for this investigation was in 2017 by EPS Const. Jay Pearson was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a work-related accident. Pearson sought workers’ compensation benefits (WCB) for his mental injuries and was granted these benefits after a protracted dispute that was settled in the Queen’s Court at the time.

advertising 3

Article content

Pearson passed away in March 2021 after battling PTSD.

According to the final report, Pearson “died of natural causes, although some publicly expressed the view that his lengthy dispute over PTSD benefits with EPS and WCB led to his death.”

An inquiry was received from the Pearson family in April 2021.

When letters started coming in for an inquest. Saskatchewan Police Federation (SFPO) President Casey Ward has sent a letter to Saskatchewan’s Minister of Corrections and Police asking for a review of EPS leadership. Ward cited “continued bullying and harassment, and concerns over media coverage highlighting how Police Chief Esteban responded to Constable’s Pearson efforts to profit through her WCB.” I was.

Advertising 4

Article content

It was around this time that former EPS Chief of Police Paul Ladouceur resigned following a no-confidence vote from SFPO’s Estevan members.

Ultimately, Aaron Fox, a Regina-based criminal defense attorney, ordered and spearheaded the investigation.

Part of Fox’s research included answering questions about EPS’s workplace culture and how it affected Esteban’s policing. Whether the board and chiefs understand their roles and responsibilities, and whether the police have the capacity, resources, and ability to support them. such as member health and welfare.

“Police do not have a respectful and professional workplace culture with proper dispute resolution practices,” Fox wrote in the report.

Advertising 5

Article content

Attorney Aaron Fox speaks for the Saskatchewan State Police Commission to release findings on workplace issues within the Esteban Police Department on Thursday, October 6, 2022 in Regina.
Attorney Aaron Fox speaks for the Saskatchewan State Police Commission to release findings on workplace issues within the Esteban Police Department on Thursday, October 6, 2022 in Regina. Photo by Troy Fries /Regina Leader Post

In early 2022, police and EPS chiefs have shown their willingness and ability to improve specific problem areas such as “workplace health, organizational communications, and mental health support and services,” Zaharuk said Thursday. said.

Officers had access to support through psychologists, but members did not take advantage of it.

“We have some extensions to access that service to ensure more confidentiality when accessing that service,” he added.

According to Zahark, service and morale have improved significantly, and his office “believes that the Esteban Police and its Police Commission are providing effective and professional service in Esteban.”

Advertising 6

Article content

Fox said he found the Esteban Police Commission “not to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities,” but noted that his willingness to learn and change was confirmed.

Zahalk said police across Saskatchewan struggled to train and “speed up” the police force, adding that continued training and education of committee members is needed.

Fox said Thursday that he felt that all the people he spoke to for the investigation “wanted to achieve positive change that would benefit not only the Esteban Police Department, but the entire Esteban community.”

Zaharuk said the investigation was preceded by first steps to improve access to mental health services and support.

advertising 7

Article content

“It was clear that the service had taken steps to introduce mental health support services,” he said.

Nevertheless, the study found that there were system reliability issues and that work was needed to improve service delivery.

An audit of the study will be conducted in 2023 to ensure improvements have been made. A full report can be found online.

alsalloum@postmedia.com

Want to know how the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix decide what to cover and how editorial decisions are made? letter from the editor Subscribe to Editor-in-Chief Russell Wangelski’s newsletter and join the discussion on how to cover news and distribute commentary, both in print and online. Click here to subscribe.

    advertising 1

comment

Postmedia is committed to maintaining an active yet respectful forum for discussion and encourages all readers to share their opinions on our articles. It may take up to an hour to moderate your comments before they appear on the site. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. You have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email when you receive a reply to a comment, when a comment thread you are following is updated, or when someone is following your comment. For more information and details on how to adjust your email preferences, please see our Community Guidelines.

Esteban Police Service investigation finds lack of trust in services, support

Source link Esteban Police Service investigation finds lack of trust in services, support

Related Articles

Back to top button