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Response to Concerns Raised Regarding MHPS Culture

On January 17, 2019, following a meeting of the Medicine Hat Police Commission (MHPC), Chief McGrogan was questioned about internal survey results and allegations made by Ken Montgomery in a 117 page document he had provided to the media.  The document contained several allegations about the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) and against Chief McGrogan specifically, as well as results from two internal Medicine Hat Police Service surveys conducted in 2017.  Mr. Montgomery claims that the surveys revealed concerns with the culture at the MHPS and that Chief McGrogan has been negligent in his duty by intentionally down playing / minimizing the concerns to the MHPC.

In response to these allegations, Chief McGrogan has issued the following statement:

The MHPS believes that a diverse and inclusive culture makes us a stronger organization, and that it makes us more resilient and responsive to the needs of the community. Beginning in the fall of 2016, as planning began for the 2017 recruitment and 2018 police cadet training was initiated, the Office of the Chief initiated a process to survey staff internally with a goal to identify and remove barriers that may exist, and that may prevent the MHPS from achieving the desired outcome of fostering a supportive work environment. 

The services of staff from the City of Medicine Hat Human Resources Department (CMHHR) were engaged to; conduct interviews of female officers, and review policy and internal processes to identify any issues or barriers. The decision to use staff from an external City department was made in an effort to allow staff to provide their open and honest feedback without fear of repercussion. Based on the results received, it was felt that the themes that had emerged were not gender specific and therefore the Office of Chief decided to expand the survey to all MHPS staff to confirm if the themes were common throughout the organization.  The results of the second survey were presented in June of 2017 and revealed several opportunities for improvement including; concerns with negative culture (45%), transparency and understanding about the promotional processes, perceived fairness of developmental opportunities, the need for improved communication, and training for all staff about Human Rights Legislation, the MHPS Respectful Workplace policy and discussion about organizational culture.

The MHPS has acknowledged throughout this process that in order to achieve our desired goal of an inclusive and diverse workforce, that is reflective of the community we serve, change is required. It was also recognized, that the process of change takes time.  The MHPS has, and continues to address the issues raised by the surveys, and has adopted a strategic approach to engage all staff in activities, to foster an environment of mutual respect, acceptance and teamwork.

To date, training on Human Rights Legislation, Respectful Workplaces and implicit bias has been provided. A review of internal policies and procedures has been completed by both the CMHHR, and an external consult, to ensure they are unbiased and free of barriers.  There have been several procedural changes made to enhance communication and transparency around internal processes, including the recruitment and promotional processes, which now involves the CMHHR in all stages of the process. In addition, the MHPS hosted a workshop with two guest speakers, who spoke about the importance of designing culture with intention and an appreciation of change management, both of which needs to consider process and human behaviour. This workshop was available for all City of MH employees to attend.

The MHPS understands the importance of communication, to both our internal and external stakeholders, and has kept MHPS staff; the Medicine Hat Police Association, the MHPC and the community updated throughout the process to date and will continue to do so.  Building upon the Diversity Plan released to the community on September 26, 2017 (available on the MHPS website at www.mhps.ca), and the 2019-2022 MHPS Strategic Plan (also available on the website), the MHPS will continue towards our goal of diversity.  The MHPS is in the final stages of the development of a four year Diversity and Inclusion Framework that is expected to be presented to the community, via the MHPC in spring of 2019.

Change does not happen overnight, it takes time to get from start to the desired end state, and we must respect individual differences in adaption to change.  It is very unfortunate that our efforts are not supported by a select few. It is the MHPS leadership team’s view that this breach of confidentiality flies in the face of all four of our MHPS core values and is shameful. We are committed to staying on course and will continue to work with our staff who share our desire to make this a better Police Service.