Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald
‘He’s seen how drastically our community has changed and he’s going to work hard to try to bring it back.’ – Mayor Greg Dionne
Prince Albert has a new police chief.
Jon Bergen said it took over 20 years of taking on several roles in the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) to work up to his ultimate goal, which came into reality on Monday morning.
Mayor Greg Dionne and the board of police commissioners joined in City Hall to make the announcement.
“When I first started with the police service, I had goals that led me to here and this wasn’t one that you expect when you walk through the doors as a new recruit or a young police officer,” said Bergen.
He served in the acting position since July, which he felt showed the board he deserved the role.
“You don’t really know what the position is until you’re doing it completely. I mean, over 20 years of watching what I thought that position was and being in that position definitely gives you the real feel of what it is and what it means,” he said.
Previously, his work with police dogs led him to instruct an FBI seminar to special agents of the Hostage Rescue Team in 2012.
Most recently, Bergen was the inspector of the criminal investigation division, in charge of the gang and intelligence units and special investigations.
Dionne said his experience influenced their decision, which was unanimous among the board.
“You don’t have to train him or he doesn’t have to ask,” said Dionne, “and the biggest thing I can say is he’s seen how drastically our community has changed and he’s going to work hard to try to bring it back.”
He said the board has expressed a major concern in the city.
“Our number one enemy is crystal meth. Crystal meth is driving the violence; crystal meth is driving the property crime, the assaults,” he said. “We think if we bring down the crystal meth use in our community that everything else will follow.”
Bergen said his first goal as chief is to create his permanent administrative team, consisting of himself, his deputy chief and two investigators.
“There’s change all the way through the organization and I’m definitely, almost more excited, to see that,” he said.
Bergen will be sworn in as chief next month.
Dionne said there were three candidates within the service and several other former members.
“Externally we had a very weak pool strictly because there are so many cities looking for chiefs…when we went to the police convention in Winnipeg this year, we realized we were in trouble because I didn’t realize how many forces were looking for policemen.”
On Dec. 17, Bergen is appointing his deputy chief with Dionne announcing the chair of police commissioners on Dec. 6.
Dionne said the chair will be a new civilian member and not an appointment from council.