The unexpected resignation and abrupt departure of the Calgary Police Service’s recently appointed chief human resource officer was a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s police commission meeting and critics suggest it speaks to the ongoing issues within the force.
“I’m somewhat disappointed that was have to hire for that position again in such short order,” said Calgary Police Commission chair Brian Thiessen on Tuesday.
Sheila Bell, a civilian, was welcomed into the role on February 12, 2018 and the circumstances surrounding her departure have not been released. “We wouldn’t discuss anyone’s resignation,” explained CPS Chief Constable Roger Chaffin.
According to Chaffin, the service remains committed to reform and the search is underway for another civilian to fill the position left vacant with Bell’s resignation. “It takes time. You just don’t go out and find the next person tomorrow. We’re going to have to do our due diligence and make sure we find the right person.”
Kim Prodaniuk, an 11-year veteran who is currently on leave, is one of a handful of officers who have spoken out against the ‘toxic workplace’ culture of the Calgary Police Service. She believes widespread changes are necessary to initiate a culture change.
“The chief human resources officer that just resigned, that should be the end of the road in my opinion,” explained Prodaniuk of her call to eliminate the existing reporting structure. “If that person says that there is, behind closed doors, a resistance to actual reform in the CPS, that’s when the CPS should lose their autonomy.”
“As some point the province needs to step in and stop having these positions, like chief human resources officer, reporting directly to the chief.”
The Calgary Police Service has been the subject of disparaging accusations and Prodaniuk believes the issue begins at the top.
“I think the very first place they should be looking at bullying and harassment, intimidation and retaliation, are some of the people that are in the police service executive who have been there for a very long time,” said Prodaniuk. “I think the CPS morale and employee wellness has shown to be low, as per their employee surveys, and I think it will continue to be low until something serious is brought in and, quite frankly, I think some people need to leave.”
The Calgary Police Service has not provided a timeline for filling the position of chief human resource officer.
With files from CTV’s Brenna Rose