Mark Neufeld to serve as Calgary police chief until 2027
The Calgary Police Commission has approved a three-year extension of Chief Constable Mark Neufeld’s term, ensuring stability in the leadership of the Calgary Police Service until 2027.
Chief Neufeld was sworn in the spring of 2019 and was the fifth person in the five previous years to lead the Service. His well-rounded career with strong experience in multiple Alberta cities made him the Commission’s top choice for leading the Service through a time of change.
Shortly after taking command, Chief Neufeld found financial efficiencies that helped The City of Calgary reduce the planned 2020 property tax increase during a time of financial strain for Calgarians – including volunteering to have his salary reduced.
During his first year, the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges. Chief Neufeld protected the health of CPS members and the public by quickly ensuring the right resources, procedures and protective equipment were in place to allow officers to continue safely responding to calls in a challenging and politically divisive environment.
Chief Neufeld was also one of the first Canadian police leaders in 2020 to acknowledge that systemic racism exists in policing, and he led the country in making commitments to address systemic barriers and discrimination. He has since put CPS on a path of transformation that includes stronger community partnerships, alternative ways of responding to people in crisis, and more equitably serving the community.
Internally, Chief Neufeld has changed several key leadership positions so they are held by specialized civilian professionals instead of police officers, and he has made significant strides in modernizing how the organization is run. Complaints about officer conduct are also being investigated and resolved more quickly, reducing the stress on officers and ensuring misconduct is addressed sooner.
“The Calgary Police Service has had to navigate financial pressures, very public calls for change, and an addiction and mental health crisis, all during a pandemic that stretched resources and put employees under immense stress,” said Commission Chair Shawn Cornett.
“In the face of all those challenges, Chief Neufeld has still managed to set the Service on a path to deliver the things Calgarians want, like better public safety, better models for helping people in crisis and an anti-racism strategy,” added Cornett. “Extending his term will make sure that CPS continues to lead the way on things they do well and improve where there is work to be done.”
One key area where significant work is left is employee morale and engagement. Workplace satisfaction has been steadily declining since 2014. Members of the Service expressed the lowest engagement levels on record in the Commission’s Employee Survey last year.
Members have expressed that their workplace concerns have not been addressed over the years by multiple leadership teams. A plan and resources are now in place to change that pattern. The Commission believes leadership stability under Chief Neufeld is the best way to ensure that the plan is fully implemented, and commissioners will ensure that doing so remains a priority for the Service.
Social disorder and crime also remain a significant concern for Calgarians, especially in the downtown core and on transit. Chief Neufeld has been working closely with other police agencies and various levels of government to advocate for reforms that will help address these issues and police activities are starting to make a difference. The Commission is pleased to have Chief Neufeld continue building on this momentum to make Calgary a safe place for everyone.
“It is my absolute honour to be afforded the opportunity to continue in a leadership role with the amazing members of the Calgary Police Service,” said Chief Constable Mark Neufeld. “Thank you to the Commission and Council for putting their trust in me. The past four years have been both challenging and rewarding, and they have unquestionably been the highlight of my career.”
“As a Service we have accomplished a great deal. I know there is more to do, and we are dedicated to serving this extraordinary city.”
The Calgary Police Commission is a body of 10 community members and two city councillors appointed by City Council to provide independent citizen governance and oversight of the Calgary Police Service on behalf of all Calgarians.
To protect the political neutrality of the police, Alberta’s Police Act requires that the police chief report directly to the Commission and that the Commission give direction to the Service through the chief, police policies, monitoring of the police conduct complaints process, and approval of how the police budget is spent.