City councillors call relationship with Edmonton police commissioners ‘unhealthy’ and ‘frustrating’

City council in Edmonton voted Tuesday to reject a letter from the Edmonton Police Commission. As Sean Amato reports, it came after commissioners refused to show up for a meeting and a lunch. #yegcc #abpoli

By Sean Amato

The relationship between Edmonton city councillors and police commissioners appears have hit an all-time low.

Commissioners were asked to attend a meeting at city hall Tuesday but refused.

“I don’t recall that ever happening. Ever,” said Ward Dene Coun. Aaron Paquette.

“Did we have a lunch with them that was also cancelled? Yes. So it’s frustrating,” added Erin Rutherford, councillor for Ward Anirniq.

Instead of making an in-person appearance, the police commission sent a letter “respectfully declining” a council request for more information about its internal audits.

Letter to Council From Edmonton Police Commission by CityNewsToronto on Scribd

Councillors responded by voting to reject the letter – a decision Coun. Andrew Knack had never made before.

“This is our largest budget item and I think it’s fair to make sure that level of detail is shared publicly,” said Knack.

The police commission also declined a CityNews request for an interview and did not answer questions about why commissioners refused to show up, other than to say “the letter speaks for itself” and “it considers the matter closed.”

Coun. Tim Cartmell said rejecting the letter doesn’t help anything, calling out some of his council colleagues in the process.

“It seems that when some don’t get the answer they want, they immediately start talking about budget, or money, or essentially pulling the leash of the police service, which is inappropriate.”

Most of the police commissioners are appointed by council. Paquette says councillors could attempt to fire the commission, but he doubts that will fix anything.

“Really, people just have to grow up,” he said. “And when I say people, I mean probably on the council side. And just go have a healthy conversation.”

The next public Edmonton police commission meeting is scheduled for June 20.

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