The Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) has appointed Lisa Simonson to a new inspector role that will have her oversee four staff sergeants, eight sergeants, and more than 30 constables in the service’s patrol division.
Police Chief Jon Bergen announced the appointment on Wednesday following a review of the officer response to a family dispute that ended with the death of a 13-month-old child on Feb. 10.
Bergen said specific details about how officers responded cannot be revealed because the investigation into the child’s death is still underway. However, he said that hasn’t stopped them from identifying structural changes needed within the organization.
“We know that our police officers face an increasing number of calls for service each year, and it has become difficult to manage every call as thoroughly as requested,” Bergen said in a press release. “We need to make sure we are fully compliant with policy, legislation, and best practices, and that is driving this change.”
Prior to the announcement, the Inspector responsible for the patrol division also provided oversight to police detention and custody. The new inspector will make sure PAPS patrol practices align with police services policies and legislation.
Simonson has 22 years of experience as a police officer, including time with both the Edmonton and Vancouver Police Services. Prior to her promotion, she spent five years with the Prince Albert Police Service’s major crime’s section of the Criminal Investigation Division.
Bergen touted her experience in a number of different areas, including patrol, court and report management, witness protection, special project teams and family safety.
Simonson received the 2014 Innovation in Policing Award from the Prince Albert Community Alcohol Strategy Steering Committee, and helped found the Saskatchewan Women in Policing organization in 2020.
“Inspector Simonson is a caring and compassionate leader who brings extensive knowledge and experience to this position,” Bergen said. “(She) is known for being thorough with a strong focus on attention to detail in her work. I look forward to working together more on our shared goals in service to our community.”
Police reported the death of a 13-month boy on Feb. 10 after receiving two reports of disturbances at a residence on the 200 Block of 23rd Street West. Officers were first called to the scene for a family dispute at 5:44 a.m., where they took one person away to police cells. They were called back a second time at around 11 a.m. after reports of a homicide involving a child.
Bergen later ordered an investigation into the initial police response as required under The Police Act of 1990. The Public Complaints Commission is also investigating.