One member of Calgary city council said the apparent Calgary police affiliation with a so-called diploma mill was “deeply disturbing.”
The Calgary police have said they’ve paused any training by the company and are reviewing the work.
A Global News report last week said CPS is alleged to have used an apparent unaccredited college and its founder for various aspects of mental health and wellness training and education. Experts in that story said it had all the marks of a so-called diploma mill.
That’s raised concerns for Ward 11 Calgary city councillor Kourtney Penner. Penner first posted to Twitter after the story broke last week.
Later, in an interview with LiveWire Calgary, Penner said that there needs to be transparency in how those professional services were acquired.
“The independence of the professional services that support our members, or our service members, is really important for integrity,” she said.
“If we have favouritism, nepotism, preference given to a certain organization based on personal affiliations, that causes a lot of issues.”
The apparent lack of accreditation is also concerning, she said. Particularly when supporting officers and their mental health.
“It’s just deeply disappointing and deeply disturbing that we are compromising that for our members,” Penner said.
In an emailed statement from the CPS, they said any training with this individual and college is currently paused.
“We recently became aware of this matter and are in the process of reviewing the training provided by the college to CPS members,” the statement read.
The CPS said the training provided by the California-based College of Certified Psychophysiologists was supplementary to other training and education members had already obtained.
Police commission also looking for answers
On Tuesday, Mayor Jyoti Gondek said they rely heavily on the Calgary Police Commission for their oversight. She expects they will have “robust” questions for Chief Mark Neufeld and his team.
“I would really hope that we are only engaging with certified institutions and I’m sure those are the types of questions that will be asked by members of commission,” she said.
The CPC, the civilian oversight body for the Calgary police, said their role is to ensure the Service has appropriate policies in place on these matters.
“Our commission has significant concerns about the Calgary Police Service’s relationship with the College of Certified Psychophysiologists,” read a statement sent to LiveWire Calgary.
“We have asked the Service to report to us on both the quality of wellness care available to members and how training and education requests are reviewed.”
While they are looking for further answers, they said they’re confident CPS members have access to strong mental health care. Certified social workers and councillors are brought in when employees require treatment.
The CPC also said there is a psychological nurse embedded with the CPS Peer Support Team. They monitor mental health support in times of distress.
The commission hasn’t yet had a chance to discuss how they’ll review the CPS situation. They’re awaiting an initial report from the CPS. After that, they’ll decide what next steps are appropriate, they said.
Both organizations were asked why there isn’t a stronger vetting process in place for the acquisition of these programs. The CPC said they’re asking the same question. The Calgary police didn’t address that specifically in their response to LiveWire Calgary.
“The Calgary Police Service has one of, if not the most, comprehensive wellness and resiliency programs in Canadian law enforcement,” the CPS statement read.
“We have 100 per cent confidence in the training and skills of those in our Psychological Therapies Section, as well as other external contractors that directly provide psychological services to our members.”
The amount of money spent on the training isn’t yet known.
“The Calgary Police Service takes responsible expenditure of public funds very seriously,” the statement read.