Mark Neufeld to remain Calgary police chief until mid-2027
Chief Constable Mark Neufeld has officially received an extension from the Calgary Police Commission to continue serving as the city's police chief until 2027.
"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 Shawn Cornett, chair of the commission in a press release.
She added that Neufeld has worked hard with his team to "set the service on a path to deliver the things Calgarians want," like being able to assist individuals in crisis situations and openly tackling racism within the force.
"In the summer of 2020, Chief Neufeld was one of the first police leaders in Canada to acknowledge that systemic racism exists in policing and he committed to take action," said Cornett.
"What has followed is three years of tough conversations and hard work by all members of the service to start delivering more equitable, modern and accountable policing for Calgarians."
Neufeld was appointed Calgary police chief in 2019 and was the fifth police official in five years to take charge of the force.
The police chief has tackled a series of challenges since then, including but not limited to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and making the police force more efficient by recruiting "specialized civilian professionals."
"What I would tell you is coming into the organization, when I came and interviewed for the job in 2019, I was interviewing the Calgary Police Commission as probably as much as they were interviewing me," said Neufeld.
He added that while he understood the work that was cut out for him, his path wasn't easy, especially considering the fact that the force was used to doing things a certain way.
"Coming into an organization that actually hadn't had an outside chief since 1995, we didn't have a history of that," said Neufeld. "So that's no easy thing in the culture, right?"
LISTEN | Mark Neufeld talks about being the police chief:
The police chief acknowledged that the force still has several roadblocks to tackle, such as a shortage of staff, increasing concerns over public safety, low employee morale, public criticism, and more.
"I think the thing that's really big for me is for looking after or to look after the people that are doing the work because it has been a very, very difficult time," said Neufeld. "As the chair spoke about, we've got an incredible amount of demand in terms of the complex issues that we're facing."
'I think it was the right decision'
Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott said he supports the commission's decision to extend Neufeld's tenure.
"I think it was the right decision, given some of the growth that we've seen over the [years], especially my last two years on council and my one year on commission," he said.
He added that the police force has become noticeably more diverse over the last few years.
"It's about getting officers who are already a part of the communities that they're serving," he said. "These are significant shifts and changes that are happening under the stewardship of this CPS leadership team now that historically we didn't see."