Complaints Against Police

The Professional Standards Unit is responsible for ensuring the integrity and professionalism of the LPS. To maintain the confidence of the citizens of Lethbridge, the Professional Standards Unit investigates Code of Conduct allegations and concerns dealing with the service delivery and the policies of the Police Service. All complaints are treated seriously and members of the public who have a complaint against the police service are encouraged to report it.

How to make a complaint:

If a citizen has a concern they should attend the police station or call the Staff Sergeant on duty at 403-330-5013. The Staff Sergeant will listen to the concern and attempt to resolve the issue informally in a timely manner. Any person who feels offended by the actions of a police officer or the services provided by LPS can make a complaint. A person can also make a complaint on someone else's behalf in cases involving a minor or someone who is incapacitated. Under the Police Act, formal complaints against the Police Service or an officer must be made in writing and signed by the person making the complaint. A letter of complaint can be sent directly to the Chief of Police.

Once a formal complaint has been filed, it may be handled in one of two ways:

1. Informal resolution - this may involve the officer's supervisor or another supervisor addressing the matter with the officer. There is normally no formal investigation in these cases. The Lethbridge Regional Police Service also recognizes the mediation process as an alternative means of resolution to complaints against police. Mediation is available at all times during, and prior to, an investigation
2. Formal investigation -  The Chief of Police will direct the Professional Standards Unit to conduct an investigation which will then be returned to the Chief for review and disposition.

How are complaints investigated?

The Sergeant in charge of Professional Standards will interview or get statements from all parties involved, gather evidence in the complaint and prepare a report for the Chief of Police. If it is found that a criminal act was committed, the report and investigation are given to Alberta Justice (Crown Prosecutor) to determine whether or not formal charges will be pursued. When a complaint does not involve a criminal act, the report and investigation are forwarded to the Chief of Police. The Chief reviews the findings of the investigation and determines a course of action.

The Chief of Police has three ways in which he can deal with a complaint:

1) Dismiss the matter
2) Conduct a disciplinary hearing
3) Classify the matter a minor contravention and issue discipline or take other appropriate action. The Chief of Police will notify the complainant in writing outlining his decision and what action was taken.

Can the Chief's decision be appealed?

In some cases the complainant may appeal within 30 days. The Chief's written decision will notify the complainant of their right to appeal. Appeals may be directed to the Law Enforcement Review Board:

1502 City Centre Place
10025 10A Avenue
Edmonton, AB, T5J 2Z2
Telephone: 780-422-9376 Fax: 780-422-4782