Calgary Police failed to follow due process regarding the unaccredited college, the report said
The Calgary Police Commission has released the results of an investigation into the Calgary Police Service’s relationship with an unaccredited California college that provided mental health training to nearly two dozen employees.
Over a year-long relationship that began in August 2021, the Calgary Police Service (CPS) paid the College of Certified Psychophysiologists — which later turned out to be unaccredited — around $30,000.
The money was spent on college and certificate programs, as well as a two-day course called Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, to teach employees new ways to help their colleagues with mental health issues.
All training and contracts have since been terminated, the report says.
CPS submitted its findings to the Police Commission on January 25.
CPS didn’t follow the right processes
In September 2022, a CPS detective conducted a criminal investigation into the issue, which was reviewed by the RCMP. It turned out that no criminal acts – including fraud – were committed by CPS or the college. No charges were brought.
Following the criminal investigation, CPS retained an independent law firm to conduct a third-party workplace investigation.
This investigation found that the police service failed to follow proper policies and processes throughout its relationship with the college.
Though the report offered no further details, citing privacy laws, it said CPS failed to follow the proper payment process for providing employee tuition.
“Had the proper procedure been followed, the college would have been properly inspected.”
According to the report, CPS has adopted a number of policy and process changes recommended by the law firm, including stricter requirements around degrees and training, clearer procedures when using corporate credit cards for training expenses, and considering an advisory committee to review third-party Mental health party training.
Another check is in progress
Commission chair Shawn Cornett said in a statement in the report that she was confident that CPS’s relationship with the college had been properly investigated.
“The focus will now be on restoring employee confidence in the wellness supports available to them,” Cornett said in the report.
“No member of the police service should be surprised at the quality of support they receive when asking for help and unfortunately this incident has raised some doubts which need to be addressed immediately.”
A review by an independent medical professional is currently underway to investigate whether college course material has made its way into the service’s wellness support.
The review will also consider whether the health care provided is religiously neutral “given the connections some faculty members at the college had with police chaplaincy training programs.”
Streamlined internal processes required
Doug King, a professor of law at Mount Royal University, says he welcomes the commission’s transparency, but it’s clear internal processes need to be streamlined.
“When you’re talking about training and education and support for officers who need mental health assistance, you can’t fool around with that kind of delivery,” King said.
King says the impact extends beyond the staff who received the training — it can also have “detrimental effects on police officers who are unrelated to this whole situation.”
He says he’d like to see a follow-up report released in a year or two with more details on the training the staff received and the processes they went through.
CBC reached out to the College of Certified Psychophysiologists, who were not immediately available for comment.