Saskatchewan begins search for top police officer to lead new commissioner service

The Saskatchewan government says it has started looking for someone to lead its new commissioner service.

The chief marshal will be responsible for developing the new provincial police force which is expected to come into operation in 2026.

The person will supervise approximately 70 agents, as well as support staff.

Public Safety Minister Paul Merriman said the province is looking for someone with the sk**ls and experience required to operate a modern police service.

The successful candidate must be an experienced senior law enforcement executive with demonstrated experience working with partners.

The province announced last fall it would create a commissioner service to help improve public safety, but the RCMP and some police unions have expressed concerns.

Saskatchewan RCMP Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore questioned what the new force would mean for the force. Some police unions said the money could be better spent on existing services.

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The province said it plans to spend $7 million this year to establish commissioners. Once fully operational, the service is expected to cost $20 million per year.

The province’s plan for the provincial police came under fire again last month for not requiring the service to have an oversight body until troops are on the ground.

An order in council said the minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety would replace a board charged with overseeing operations. Former Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said at the time that a committee would be created once the commissioners were operational.

Most police organizations have councils, commissions, or advisory bodies composed of civilians and elected officials that provide oversight when police make decisions.

The province says the police service will improve law enforcement across Saskatchewan with a focus on deterring criminal activity in rural and remote areas, locating high-risk offenders and conducting policing proactive measures relating to agricultural violations.

The marshals will also provide support to the RCMP, First Nations police and municipal services, the province said.

“We are looking for someone who can act as a leader, mentor and relationship builder simultaneously,” Merriman said in a press release Tuesday.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press

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