Increasing civilian membership on the Board of Police Commissioners

Councillor Lori Bresciani and I believe we need more expertise and diverse representation on the Board of Police Commissioners. That means catching up with other municipalities and adding additional civilian members. We have many local experts who could add valuable insight to the Board, which functions at arms length from Council. This should also spin into a bigger conversation about the complaints and investigation process, evidenced by the conviction of a serving RPS officer for assaulting a 13 year old boy who was held in custody. A call from a resident last week reminded me that trust in our police service has been jeopardized by the officer's actions. More civilian oversight is a start.

WHEREAS the Board of Police Commissioners is solely responsible for overseeing the provision of policing services within the City of Regina and exercises all the powers, authority and duties as provided in The Police Act;

WHEREAS the Board of Police Commissioners is a vital link between the community and its police service;

WHEREAS section 27 (4) of The Police Actstipulates that the Board of Police Commissioners is to consist of at least three members appointed annually by City Council;

WHEREAS the Board of Police Commissioners Bylaw, Bylaw No. 8261 established the current composition of five members as being comprised of the Mayor and four other persons, two of whom are members of Council and two of whom shall be citizens of the City of Regina, with one citizen member being an Indigenous person;

WHEREAS the Board of Police Commissioners could benefit from the addition of community-based policing and justice experts;

WHEREAS unlike Saskatchewan, legislation in other Canadian jurisdictions typically requires that the majority of members of a police board are not municipal councillors;

WHEREAS Saskatoon’s Board of Police Commissioners has seven members, comprised of the Mayor, two councillors and four citizen members;

WHEREAS Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver have Boards of Police Commissioners with 11, 9, 7 and 8 members, respectively and all with a majority of citizen members; and

WHEREAS Regina is among the last major Canadian city to have more elected officials than citizen members on its Board of Police Commissioners;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

That Administration prepare a report for Executive Committee in Q1 of 2020 on the following:

  1. The process for expanding the membership on the Board of Police Commissioners by two citizen members, resulting in a total membership of seven;
  2. A comparison with other major Western Canadian cities respecting:
    1. the ratio of citizen members to elected members on Boards of Police Commissioners; and
    2. of criteria that aligns with City Council’s Policy Statement respecting Strengthening Eligibility and Diversity Requirements which represents our community.