Calgary, AB,

Professional Standards Section annual report shows commitment to transparency and efficiency

The Calgary Police Service Professional Standards Section (PSS) released its 2021 annual report, which shows that the Service made additional strides to increase transparency and support ongoing police reform, which began several years ago.

In 2021, the Service responded to more than 555,000 calls for service, resulting in 374 formal complaints. This indicates that only a small portion – approximately 0.07 per cent of calls for service – gave rise to a complaint.

“We continue to work diligently to improve our processes to resolve complaints efficiently and effectively and to ensure pertinent information was shared with our stakeholders,” said Executive Director Katherine Murphy.   

PSS closed 424 files in 2021, a 36 per cent increase over the five-year average, and a 22 per cent increase in file closures compared to 2020. Almost half of the complaints were closed using informal resolution or alternate dispute resolution – a trend that PSS would like to see continued where appropriate.

Though there was a modest increase in 2021 in the number of complaints received, there was a 33 per cent decrease in the number of complaints ordered to a disciplinary hearing. Disciplinary hearings occur for the most serious forms of misconduct. 

There were also 324 compliments received in 2021, thanking officers for the everyday things they do on and off the job and acknowledging how officers supported citizens during specific incidents of trauma and crisis. 

In 2021, PSS began collecting race-based data and is reporting this information to the Calgary Police Commission monthly.    

More civilian members have also been added to PSS, including a quality assurance team. These resources are enhancing both the robustness and efficiency of PSS’s process.

“We believe we are on the right track toward modernizing the complaints process and increasing our transparency when it comes to our interactions with citizens,” said Murphy. “We also recognize the importance of using the information we gather to inform how we educate our members to mitigate future occurrences.”

As part of our commitment to handling complaints about officer conduct in a fair and transparent manner, the 2021 annual report is available on The City of Calgary Newsroom.

The Calgary Police Service takes all complaints seriously and investigates in accordance with the Alberta Police Act. More specific information on the investigative process and the decision making process for complaints is available on the Professional Standards Investigations webpage. Additional information and resources about our commitment to transparency and accountability is included on our Community Accountability page.