The Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety said it will not publicly discuss the release of a report into the operations of Prince Albert Police. In November, the Ministry tasked former Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht with examining the challenges, needs, relationships and operations of policing. The department came under intense scrutiny following the death of 13-month old Tanner Brass in February 2022.
Police were called to a home early on February 10, on a family dispute, where Tanner’s mother was taken into custody. Hours later, officers would return to that same home on a report of a child homicide. Tanner’s father is charged.
Indigenous leaders, including the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations conducted their own investigation into the death and outlined grave concerns alleging gross negligence and/or criminal negligence and systemic racism on behalf of the Prince Albert Police, in connection to Tanner’s death.
Leaders said Tanner’s mother, Kyla Frenchman, was fleeing domestic violence. Yet when police arrived, Frenchman was arrested for intoxication and police ignored her pleas for help, while asserting that no welfare check was performed on Tanner. According to the FSIN, Frenchman wasn’t intoxicated and communicated to officers the danger Tanner may have been in.
Two officers were suspended in March as the Public Complaints Commission investigated. Prior to this, Prince Albert Police announced three in-custody deaths. A spokesperson for Prince Albert Police Service said the department will not be discussing the inquiry or matters within the scope of the inquiry and referred all questions to the provincial government. The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations has not provided comment on the story.
Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said Wednesday that she is actively considering releasing the administrative review report into Prince Albert Police. She explained that the report contains several themes and recommendations. Tell added that the recent high profile events were not the genesis of launching the review, but did not elaborate on the tipping point. NDP critic Nicole Sarauer is in full support of releasing the report saying full transparency is needed in situations like this to bolster public confidence in police.