By Trevor Busch
Representatives of police governance in the province will be descending on the community this weekend for the 2016 Alberta Association of Police Governance Conference, set to be hosted in Taber April 22-23 at the Heritage Inn.
A decision on the host community was made by the AAPG in March 2015 for the two-day April 2016 conference. Traditionally, the AAPG conference alternates on an annual basis between Calgary, Edmonton and smaller centres in the province, and usually attracts between 65 and 95 participants each year.
“We really want to, through this — and I think that’s where we’re marching is to showcase Taber, and showcase the commission — put us on the map, and be available for discussion,” said Taber Municipal Police Commission chair Ken Holst, speaking at the commission’s April 14 meeting. “As hosts, and be available for that, talking to people, answer questions, and explain things that are going on in this community, and share best practices.”
The AAPG conference provides training sessions, panel discussions, and plenary presentations to further the professional development and networking opportunities of its members.
On Friday morning, delegates to the conference will be treated to a tour of the new Municipal District of Taber Shooting Complex located a short distance north of the community adjacent to Highway 864. Opening ceremonies for the conference commence at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, and will feature addresses by Mayor Henk DeVlieger, Chief Graham Abela and Terry Noble, AAPG chair.
“We’ve ordered a bunch of vests, with Taber police commission and our names on them, so we’re identifiable on the weekend,” said commission member Harry Prummel, who together with commission member Wanda Osburne-Campbell headed an appointed organizational sub-committee for the conference. “We have one for everybody.”
Some of the sessions that will be provided to delegates on Saturday include First Nations Policing, presented by Chief Dale Cox of Lakeshore Regional Police Service; Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, presented by AACP president Marianne Ryan; Mental Health Education and Training, presented by Terry Coleman, AAPG board member; Body Worn Video, presented by deputy chief Trevor Daroux and staff sergeant Todd Robertson of the Calgary Police Service; and Focus on Taber – The Drug Trade in Southern Alberta, presented by TPS Chief Graham Abela (the latter presentation will be conducted in closed session).
A final session scheduled for Sunday morning, which was met with objections by members of the TMPC at the commission’s March 10 meeting, will be an Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Training Session, focusing on the police commission’s statutory decision-making role.
“The one unfortunate thing — and nothing to do with what we’ve organized at our end, but I did give this feedback back — is scheduling that Sunday morning meeting on commission complaints and what have you,” said Holst on April 14. “It’s critical information, amazing information for members of commissions. Mr. Prummel and I had this discussion this week, that yes this is a volunteer position and you want to do your best, but there are others things Sunday morning that sometimes take more of a priority. I guess my message would be, if you have those conflicts, if you’re attending church or something of that nature, it’s OK to make that decision to have that as a priority, in my mind. That’s what I’ll be doing, attending church.”
Commission representative Coun. Randy Sparks also commented that he would be unable to attend the Sunday morning session due to church commitments.
At their Jan. 14, 2015 meeting, the commission had voted unanimously to prepare a bid for the 2016 conference, based on information provided by commission representative Harry Prummel, who had led an investigative team to determine the suitability of the community and its facilities for hosting the conference.