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Professionalism Committee Final Report

Edmonton Police Service

B. PROFESSIONALISM ON-LINE SURVEY


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Overview

In August 2005, the EPS Professionalism Committee was created with the following mandate: To increase public trust and confidence by enhancing professionalism within the Edmonton Police Service.' In an effort to determine the current status for professionalism within the Edmonton Police Service as well as identify any issues that may exist specific to ethical behaviour and leadership, all members (sworn and non-sworn) were asked to participate in an anonymous survey. An astounding 562 EPS employees (approximately 34% of the membership) completed the survey. Emerging Themes 1) Leadership a) Driven by the Executive b) Exhibited by the entire EPS membership 2) Accountability a) External (public confidence & trust) b) Internal (consistency & transparency) 3) Ongoing Training a) Ethics are developed and promoted in recruit training b) No reinforced expectations throughout career

N. Lipinski, EPS, Professionalism Committee Mtg 29 September, 2005.

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Professionalism Committee Final Report Preliminary Recommendations

Edmonton Police Service

The Professionalism Committee was provided with the following preliminary recommendations to guide further research: 1) Leadership Development a) Leadership from the Executive Set clear direction Reinforce commitment Build capacity b) Leadership development courses for each rank 2) Accountability a) Ethics policies and procedures that are clearly defined and set clear expectations b) Ethics policies and procedures that are consistently applied (i.e., not rank or seniority specific) c) Ethics policies and procedures that have teeth (i.e., specific consequence/discipline) 3) Ongoing Training a) Adult learning environment, not stand-alone course(s) b) Ethics training committee

SURVEY DESIGN AND DISSEMINATION

There was no particular scientific methodology used for the selection of the survey questions. Approximately 10 existing surveys were referenced in the formulation of the 11 questions used. Various stakeholders within the Edmonton Police Service reviewed and provided input toward the final draft of questions. The survey was a combination of open text, range, and demographic questions. 28 Professionalism On-Line Survey April 6, 2006

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The survey was sent to each employee of the Edmonton Police Service via email from A/Chief Darryl da Costa's PC. Target population: All EPS employees Duration of survey: October 21 to November 07, 2005 (18 days) Results: 562 EPS employees (approximately 34%) completed the survey resulting in 85 pages of raw data.

SURVEY QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES

Question 1: What is your definition of ethical behaviour? (direct responses that reflect the thoughts of all participants are provided). )=' Ethical behaviour is when you can look back on your decisions and know that you made the decision for the right reasons and you feel fully accountable. Conducting your daily affairs with tolerance, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, generosity and integrity. Always treating others in a way in which you would like to be treated. Always doing what you believe is right, whether others are watching over you or not. Doing the right thing, at the right time, no matter who is watching. Ethics are not situationally dependent. Conducting oneself within the law, within your organization's code of conduct, and within social and moral norms; treat others like you would want to be treated yourself.

Question 2: How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "As an organization, the Edmonton Police Service provides clear expectations to help guide and promote ethical behaviour"? April 6, 2006 Professionalism On-Line Survey 29

Professionalism Committee Final Report

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Question 2 How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: As an organization, the Edmonton Police Service provides clear expectations to help guide and promote ethical behaviour?
Strongly Agree 13%

Agree

11111111111111111111

45%

Neither Agree or Disagree

=It

16%

Disagree

MEM
5%

18%

Strongly Disagree

No response

3%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Question 3: Provide examples to support your rating in Question 2 (direct

responses that reflect the thoughts of all participants are provided). While recruit training covers ethical behaviour and expectations, this is not attended to in ongoing training to reinforce expectations. [We] often hear stories of members being investigated for incidents of non-ethical behaviour (racist emails, improper emails). Only after that is there is a reaction or response to the incident by the service. There are frequent reminders to members to behave ethically, but ethics is a personal choice that I don't believe can be taught. Development of a code of ethics for police officers; open and fair investigations not only with the public but with members themselves. The difference in the expectations of staff from long service employees to ones on probation and sworn to non-sworn. For example, individuals on probation or new hires have to meet high performance standards and work ethics but senior staff seem to have autonomy and don't always seem motivated to work hard. April 6, 2006

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> There have been some situations where some people have not been disciplined for their behaviour when others were disciplined. > A sergeant's role is to guide his employees to the correct avenues of decisions and provide a good example of how to act and make correct decisions. All employees need to show leadership and take action when seeing unprofessional conduct. This does not happen often enough. > The real problem here isn't this scenario. It is the scenario of the undermotivated police officer that doesn't care, the member who should not be wearing the uniform. > Performance reviews have been considered a joke around here for years. It has become a meaningless process. There is no will on the part of many supervisors to provide honest feedback. I bet you would find a history of many flattering performance reviews submitted on problem employees facing disciplinary sanctions. There is very little accountability which governs this process. The promotion process should be directly linked to one's documented performance throughout his career, not just what he did 6 months prior to preparing for the process (Recency Effect). > Lack of action by management to deal with discreditable people, take some action, and fire these people. Members are allowed to remain in the employment of the Service where, if they were in the private sector, they would have been terminated long ago. Their termination would be based on performance reviews and overall attitude. > There are supervisors/detectives who are placed in positions that are clearly not a good fit for them or the people they supervise. There is a lack of ethical behaviour on the part of the organization for failure to concede this point and address it (perhaps this is merely a leadership issue). 1 April 6, 2006 Professionalism On-Line Survey 31

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Ethical behaviour, accountability, and, as a result, professionalism have to start at the top. To the executive, look inward, you will see the answer. Ethics is not something taught in a step-by-step handbook. As a service we can only endeavour to do our best at selecting people of good character to go through the selection process. You cannot teach ethics. You can only hope that the people you selected will "do the right thing." Most of the time it works. Sometimes ... well, you know. Recruiting appears to encourage independent thinking, bringing previous life experiences with you to apply in your role as a police officer. Then, when you actually go through the training, they brow beat you until they break you and you fit into their mold. A great deal of inconsistency in the actions of the Service (Direction from the Top) dealing with issues of: 1) Promotion process, 2) Selection and transfer of the membership to preferred positions, 3) The treatment of sworn (First Class) and civilian (Second Class). I see various members who are doing things wrong, not giving their best to the organization. Nothing is said or done to those individuals. All that ignoring the behaviour does is encourage others to think that they can do what they want and get away with it. You want ethical behaviour? It starts at the top and the rest will follow. We are lacking somewhat after the recruit training stage though. Perhaps we need to re-define ethical behaviour and our expectations. The recruit selection process, as well as recruit training, tries to provide leadership and examples of what is expected of each and every member of the service.

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Question 4: How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement:

"Members of the Edmonton Police Service maintain a standard of moral and ethical behaviour required of a police organization?"
Question 4 How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "Members of the Edmonton Police Service maintain a standard of moral and ethical behaviour required of a police organization"?

Strongly Agree

16%

Agree 11111111111111111111111111111111MMI 57%

Netther Agree or Disagree

=It
8%

4%

Disagree

Strongy Disagree 1 1%

No response

4%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Questions 5: What is your definition of unethical behaviour? (direct responses

that reflect the thoughts of all participants are provided). Actions that are not only in contravention of the Police Act but are inconsistent with the expectations of the community. Actions or behaviours that are not tolerated by social norms. Unethical behaviour is behaviour that erodes public confidence in the organization stemming from ineffectiveness of management to hold its employee accountable for their actions. Demonstrating behaviour or attitudes that the citizens would view as inappropriate for someone holding the position of a police officer. Behaviour that violates policy, law, or the norms of society for that city. )=. Behaviour that is criminal, immoral, and behaviour that will bring dishonour to the EPS. April 6, 2006 Professionalism On-Line Survey 33

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An action that may bring your integrity, honesty, and character into question by the public and your peers. )=. Not being in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the conduct of a profession. )>. Behaviour that is illegal or detrimental to the public trust, on or off duty. Behaviour that is criminally wrong, morally wrong, or would be viewed poorly by a reasonable person. A police officer is held to a higher degree of ethical behaviour which must be displayed both on and off the job. A person who does not have good morals or values which should have been taught at a young age. Once they are comfortable in their position the unethical behaviour will surface.

Question 6: How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "Members of our organization who behave unethically are held accountable"?
Question 6 How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "Members of our organization who behave unethically are held accountable"?
Strongly Agree 6%

Agree

30%

Neither Agree or Disagree

23%

Disagree

27%

Strongly Disagree

No response

5%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

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Question 7: How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "My supervisor consistently demonstrates a commitment to core ethical obligations (e.g., integrity, honesty, fairness, and responsibility)"?
Question 7 How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "My supervisor consistently demonstrates a commitment to core ethical obligations (e.g., integrity, honesty, fairness, and responsibility)"?

Strongly Agree

Agree

Neither Agree or Disagree

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

No response

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

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Question 8: How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "As a member of the Edmonton Police Service I fully understand the ethical principles and obligations required of me"?
Question 8 How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "As a member of the Edmonton Police Service I fully understand the ethical principles and obligations required of me"?
Strongly Agree 46%

Agree

41%

Neither Agree or Disagree

4%

Disagree

4%

Strongly Disagree

1%

No response

4%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

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Question 9: How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "As a member of the Edmonton Police Service it is my responsibility to communicate & encourage ethical behaviour"?
Question 9 How strongly do you agree/disagree with the following statement: "As a member of the Edmonton Police Service it is my responsibility to communicate & encourage ethical behaviour"?
Strongly Agree

111111111111111111M
33%

56%

Agree

Neither Agree or Disagree

Disagree

2%

Strongly Disagree

1%

No response

4%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

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Question 10: How long have you been employed by the Edmonton Police Service?
Question 10 How long have you been employed by the Edmonton Police Service?

Under 5 years

6 to 10 years

11 to 15 years

16 to 20 years

21 to 25 years

Over 25 years

No response

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

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Question 11: What is your current position/rank with the Edmonton Police Service?
Question 11 What is your current position/rank with the Edmonton Police Service?
Constable

Sergeant

Detective

Staff Sergeant

hspector

Superintendent

Non-sw orn

No response

0%

10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

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C. INTERNAL CONSULTATION FOCUS GROUPS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The mandate of the EPS Professionalism Committee was to increase the public trust and confidence in the EPS through the enhancement of ethics and professionalism. A part of the process included trying to find out where the EPS was and where it needed to go to meet this objective. This research focused on feedback and input from internal employees through small focus groups and one-on-one consultation. Information was gathered from 75 employees, both sworn and non-sworn, from all bureaus and divisions of the EPS. These participants were asked if they agreed or disagreed with 10 specific questions and then were encouraged to comment on three additional, openended, narrative-type questions about ethics and professionalism in the EPS. The results were interesting and eye-opening as there appears to be much we can do to enhance our current situation. There appears to be a lack of accountability, leadership, communication, and discipline in our organization. If we want to improve the ethical and professional image of the EPS the following recommendations need to be considered: Accountability Emphasize the need for clear objectives Impose consistent sanctions for not achieving those objectives Ensure consistency from the top down Ensure effective performance evaluations Leadership Make the tough decisions (i.e., the "free coffee" issue) and enforce them in a fair and consistent manner

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Professionalism Committee Final Report Ensure all promoted ranks lead by example Reward ethical behaviour Punish unethical behaviour Communication

Edmonton Police Service

Have clear and concise expectations and objectives Ensure clear consequences for not meeting expectations Regular ongoing ethics/professionalism messaging Discipline EPS must deal with bad apples Ensure appropriate, consistent, and timely discipline Re-instate the Sgt. Major Rank Implement the Early Intervention system2

The following report details copies of the exact questions asked of the participants of the internal focus groups. Some of their responses and comments are generalized and form a part of the analysis. The justifications for the aforementioned recommendations are also included. Although there were no major incidents of corruption identified, there are still many things that we can do to improve the ethical behaviour and professionalism within the EPS.

2 The Early Intervention System (EIS) is a non-disciplinary tool used to assist the police service in identifying members
that may require intervention efforts. The EIS uses a two stage process in determining whether or not proactive steps are required. The first stage relates to the use of statistical information collected from various sources within the EPS to proactively identify possible situations requiring intervention. If it is determined that an issue exists, this information is presented to Human Resource Division to allow them to conduct a qualitative review of the member's profile. If, at the conclusion of this profile review, concern exists, the documentation will be forwarded to the member's divisional commander for their action and attention. The use of EIS does not preclude supervisors from their daily responsibility of monitoring the performance of and taking necessary corrective actions for employees under their command.

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What was even more interesting during this research was how differently our outside partners view our professional and ethical behaviour. (These views are subject of other reports related to the Professionalism Committee Research).

RESEARCH The focus group is a qualitative research technique in which people are informally "interviewed" in a group discussion setting. 3 To provide direction and focus, the role of the internal consultation was to establish a threshold of where the membership is currently with respect to ethical issues and further, to research and promote best practices. During the fall of 2005, focus groups made up of EPS members provided opinions and ideas of the membership with respect to ethics and leadership within the Edmonton Police Service. As a research method, the main advantage of the focus groups was that it solicited the membership to express their opinions and ideas freely in a group format providing valuable insight into how the membership views ethics within EPS. Ethical implications in the design were considered. The consultation was voluntary with no inducements and no negative consequences being noted. Respondents were informed as to who was doing the focus groups, the purpose, topic, relevance, and confidentiality. The focus groups incorporated a representative sampling from all areas of the EPS including Patrol, Criminal Investigation Section, Materials Management Section, Traffic, Tactical, Support, Communications, Major Crimes Division, Finance, Vice, Homicide, Police Vehicle Storage Lot, and ASB (Administrative Services Bureau). Responses were in a survey format and, in total, 75 responses were gathered from employees in these areas. There were 66 responses from sworn members and 9 from non-sworn (civilian). The seniority ranged from 9
3 L. W. Neuman, 'Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (5th ed.)' Allyn & Bacon, Boston MA, p. 396.

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months to over 32 years and consisted of 31 Constables, 24 Detectives and Sergeants, 6 Staff Sergeants, and 1 Inspector. Four responses had no rank listed. The questions were standardized in survey format and consisted of the following: 1. Police members often display a cavalier/cowboy attitude. Agree 5%

Neutral 16%

Disagree 79%

2. Suspects or accused persons are always treated with respect and dignity.

Agree 49%

Neutral 30%

Disagree 21%

3. I am not afraid to report unethical behaviour because the EPS creates a reprisal free environment.

Agree 45%

Neutral 23%

Disagree 32%

4. Receiving gratuities like free coffee or half-priced meals is okay.

Agree 32%

Neutral 37%

Disagree 31%

5. Acceptance of a free cup of coffee or discounted meals leads to corruption.

Agree 1%

Neutral 13%

Disagree 86%

6. "Buy-ins" for members entering a new squad or unit is an acceptable practice.

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Professionalism Committee Final Report Agree 63%

Edmonton Police Service

Neutral 20%

Disagree 17%

7. Conducting personal business while on duty is acceptable. Agree 15%

Neutral 39%

Disagree 46%

8. It is fair to speculate that friends and family members of police officers are more likely to receive a warning or be provided special considerations during an investigation. Agree 24%

Neutral 24%

Disagree 52%

9. It is common for police to use police data systems for personal reasons. Agree 4%

Neutral 12%

Disagree 84%

10.There is corrupt activity occurring in the EPS. Agree 14%

Neutral 26%

Disagree 60%

The most polarized responses occurred in questions 1, 5, and 9 where most members (79%) disagreed that members often display a cavalier/cowboy attitude and that having a free coffee or accepting a half-price meal leads to corruption (86%). Similarly, most members also disagreed that it is common for police to use data systems for personal reasons (84%). There was general agreement in questions 2 and 6 where suspects/accused are treated with dignity and respect (49%), and that "Buy-Ins" for new members to a unit or squad was acceptable practice (63%). Generally speaking, members demonstrated ethical responses in the expected direction, noting that there is strong agreement with the established police culture.

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open-ended Questions Open-ended questions provided a forum for members to identify what ethical issues they have observed within the organization and what they would suggest to improve ethical behaviour. With respect to question 11, "What unethical behaviour have you witnessed within EPS?" it was observed that junior members (1-4 years service) did not note any ethical issues and that senior members identified a substandard work ethic within the EPS. Substandard work ethic was identified as the perceived failure of mostly junior members towards doing a full comprehensive investigation and report. The most serious noted responses were theft (clipboards, flashlights, etc.), vandalism, impaired operation, and threats. Frequently mentioned responses were misuse/misrepresentation of C-11 s, time spent not working on shift (web-surfing, sleeping, school-work, extended lunch and coffee breaks) and lastly, dissention between the ranks (inequity of informal benefits, workload, etc.). Generally speaking, members did not identify any corruption; the most frequent responses pertained to abuses towards the organization as a whole (i.e., abuse of court-time for pay) as opposed to members abusing the public or using their position/authority for clandestine or criminal activity. With respect to question 12, "How can EPS improve ethical behaviour?" two schools of thought were prevalent. The first centered on organizational efforts to instil an ethical program and leadership. Common themes were leadership by example, having clear guidelines and expectations, ensuring accountability and responsibility, improving communication, education, and progressive discipline, and imposing clear, enforceable sanctions. The second school of thought centered on an individual's responsibility for self-monitoring and professionalism. Suggestions included that all members should lead by example, that peer pressure is the best messenger, that more positive reinforcement is needed, and

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that ethical behaviour comes from "within oneself." Both positions have merit and are analogous to the nature vs. nurture debates in looking at determinates of behaviour. Lastly, an open-ended question requested additional comments. A significant number of members responded and the frequency of remarks noted were equally divided into positive, negative, and neutral opinions and observations. Positive comments noted no rampant abuse or signs of corruption with members largely displaying a professional attitude. Negative comments included questionable organizational priorities, perceived entitlement, and divisive relations between the ranks and officers and cozy relations between members and their supervisors which negate effective discipline. Neutral observations consisted of a variety of items from how EPS should deal with the media to thoughts on ethical drift, leadership, communication, and discipline.

ANALYSIS Overall, the membership's ideas and feedback to the consultation were well presented, articulate, and consistent with research in the field. As a direct result of their input, the Internal Consultation's recommendations focus on accountability, leadership, communication, and discipline. Many who were consulted felt that improving accountability was one way we could improve the professional image and ethical behaviour of the Edmonton Police Service. A few examples of lack of accountability shared with the research group included:
"Abuse of C-1 1s, court time, and sick time," "Nobody is doing anything about substandard work,"

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Professionalism Committee Final Report


"Sleeping on duty,"

Edmonton Police Service

"Not working a full shift and getting paid for it (arrive late, leave early)," "Make management accountable for their decisions," "Reinforce accountability and responsibility," "Changing shifts to gain material advantage i.e.: court time," "Make performance reviews mean something," "Surfing the net instead of working," "Start at the top."

One of the main concerns was lack of clearly-defined goals and objectives so that staff knew what was expected of them. It is difficult to hold one accountable if it is not clear what is expected of them. If expectations were clear, often there are no consequences for not achieving those goals. Therefore we require a strong, realistic, and practical performance evaluation process that reflects these deficiencies. Another strong and reoccurring theme was that accountability applies to all and needs to start at the top. As a result of this feedback, several recommendations will be made with the hope of increasing accountability within the EPS. Leadership, or lack thereof, appeared to be another common area of concern. During the consultation process, including some one-on-one follow-up interviews, many brought up this issue. Below are some quoted examples:
"Officers not walking the talk," "Higher ranks: Questionable business trips, abuse of positional influence, receiving credit undeservingly, lying, deceit," "Failure of EOT to be accountable for problems, i.e.: shift schedule, MWS, EPS reputation,"

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"Make a decision on gratuities," "Have all members lead by example," "Reward proper ethical behaviour,"

Edmonton Police Service

"There is a sense of entitlement from many of the members regarding perks and training," "There is a huge division between officers and the membership due to the self-serving style of leadership demonstrated," "Ethics should be top down; try finding a manager at HQ on Friday afternoon."

The perception is that many decisions are not being made, thus eroding the credibility of leadership within the EPS. We have been discussing this free coffee and discounted meals issue for years, and there is still no clear direction on these ethical dilemmas. There also appears to be a lack of recognition for those who make good ethical decisions and to the contrary, a lack of discipline for those who do not. Several ideas will be suggested to improve our professionalism through stronger leadership.

Communication is equally important in our professionalism and ethical success.


Without clear and concise expectations it is difficult for us to achieve our objective. Those surveyed agreed in making these comments:
"Clear guidelines and expectations," "Repetitive dialogue both formal and informal," "Set and communicate what ethical behaviours are," "Continually communicate expectations," "Discuss ethics more often (once a week)."

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It is abundantly clear that without excellent communications everything else fails. Not only do our expectations need to be clear, the consequences for not meeting those expectations need to be just as clear. Regular and ongoing ethics and professionalism messaging has to be part of our overall communication strategy. Many of our members are unclear as to what our ethical guiding principles are because our communication is not clear and concise. For example, the Police Officer's Code of Ethics in our policy manual (11-A-2) is single spaced and takes up a half page. The City of Edmonton Employee Code of Ethics (11-1-4), which also applies to us, is a full 1 1/2 pages in length. Most city employees would not know where to access the code of ethics, let alone remember them. Shorter is better. Discipline remains as a key issue and was raised regularly during our consultation process. Some of the discipline-related comments were:
"Must deal with the bad apples," "Affirmative and prompt discipline,"

"Education/progressive discipline,"
"Punish unethical behaviour," "No more repeated warnings. Need clear sanctions that are enforced, not ignored," "Expand use of dismissal (serious breeches of dishonesty)."

The majority of the membership believe in stricter discipline and are disappointed that those who break the rules repeatedly are rarely dealt with appropriately. They are asking for appropriate, consistent, and timely discipline. It is time for an Early Intervention System within Internal Affairs to flag those repeat offenders who are tainting the professionalism of the entire organization. It is critical that the immediate frontline supervisors are included in any disciplinary actions involving members under their command.
WV-

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To reinforce discipline and support acceptable ethical behaviour, it is time to consider the re-instatement of the Sgt. Major rank. When we were an organization of 400 sworn members, we could afford a full-time Sgt. Major. Today, our membership is nearly four times that amount and we have a part-time Dress and Deportment Protocol Officer who works on a multitude of portfolios off the corner of his desk. To the contrary, the RCMP have recently ramped up these positions and have increased the number of Sgt. Majors across the country. It is also understood that the Calgary Police Service is considering a fulltime Sgt. Major to deal with the same problem we have. In this day and age, the issue of professionalism and ethics is important enough to warrant this dedicated resource.

CONCLUSION The purpose of this research was to assist in increasing the public trust and confidence of the EPS through the enhancement of ethics and professionalism. This report dealt specifically with the results of internal consultation conducted with both sworn and non-sworn members of the EPS. As a result of this research, it became clear that although there were no major incidents of corruption within the organization, there were many things that still could be done to improve the ethical and professional behaviour. These improvements focused in four main areas which included: Accountability, Leadership, Communication, and Discipline. The implementation of the included recommendations would go a long way to make this a first class police organization. The citizens of the City of Edmonton and employees of the EPS deserve no less.

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