Staff shortages are hurting morale, impacting investigations, Calgary police survey says

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Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld says a new employee survey shows change is needed.  (Lucie Edwardson/CBC - image credit)
Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld says a new employee survey shows change is needed. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC - image credit)

Calgary police service members have reported a significant decline in morale, an increase in workload and a perceived lack of support from the organization's chief of police, a new annual employee survey says.

About 44 per cent of staff, or 1,375 Calgary Police Service (CPS) members, responded to the Calgary Police Commission survey.

Staff shortages is one main issue, the survey found, with respondents saying those shortages have hurt morale and impacted investigations.

Nearly three-quarters of employees say they disagree that the actions and directions of senior leaders show that CPS cares about its employees.

Shawn Cornett, vice-chair and interim chair of the Calgary Police Commission, says the survey's results are disappointing.

"It's never good to get a lot of negative feedback. However, it's essential to do these surveys and to hear and listen to what the employees are saying," she said.

Commission to ask city for additional funding

Cornett says the Calgary Police Commission will be asking city council to fund 38 new full-time positions to relieve pressure on officers.

The survey also found that 80 per cent disagree that there is a climate of trust that exists between CPS senior leaders and employees.

Cornett says Calgary police leadership is relatively new in its position, but with attention and development plans she thinks feelings toward leadership, and more broadly the profession, can be changed.

"I think in all of society, these days, we are running into problems where the police services in any jurisdiction are being held to task and, and being accountable … we need to both look for accountability and move things ahead and show support for the service they do provide," Cornett said.

Police chief says he has 'fallen short'

In a statement to the CBC, police chief Mark Neufeld acknowledges the results show employees are feeling overworked and undervalued.

"We know that change is needed and realize I have fallen short in supporting our members in ways that are meaningful to them. Our top priority will be to address resource, morale and leadership disconnects," Neufeld said in the emailed statement.

"As our service moves forward, we will be working with the commission, as well as the Calgary Police Association and the Senior Officers Association to have meaningful and solution-based discussions on how we can all work together to address our employee's top concerns."

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