Prince Albert Police Chief Jon Bergen held a media conference Thursday afternoon where he announced that he would be retiring from the Prince Albert police after 25 years of service, effective May 31.
Bergen made the announcement after the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) released a report on the Prince Albert police response to the call for service prior to 13-month-old Tanner Brass’ death on Feb. 10, 2022. The two Prince Albert police members who responded to the initial call for service on Feb. 10, 2022, were suspended from active duty, which continues to stand in effect.
“It is very public knowledge that my decisions as Chief in this matter have become the subject of escalating criticism and personal attack from a specific core of current and past members of the Prince Albert Police Service,” said Bergen.
“If I were to accept the responsibilities on me as Chief of Police under the Investigation Report released today – to discipline members, or to further investigate supervising members – it could be misrepresented as biased and influenced by the manner in which my family has been treated.”
Bergen said his decision to request an independent investigation and remove the two officers involved from active service resulted in relentless, vocal criticisms of his leadership.
He and his family have been the victims of numerous personal attacks over the past three years, like receiving a Christmas card filled with hateful messages, having damaging statements put up on public mailboxes, and his daughter being followed around the city for several kilometers by police members while driving her mother’s car, according to Bergen.
These are just a few examples of the constant harassment that has become “completely exhausting,” he said.
The Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners has agreed that an interim Chief of Police seconded from an external police agency be appointed to the position immediately.
“I am authorized by the Board at this time to report to the community that we have been able to arrange in cooperation with the Saskatoon Police Service the secondment of an interim Chief of Police. We feel fortunate to have arranged this appointment on an interim basis to assume the duties as Prince Albert’s Chief of Police, until such time as the Board can recruit and hire my replacement.”
Deputy Chief Prince said she was not interested in taking over the role in order to protect the discipline process.
“An external interim Chief is free from personal attacks that Chief Bergen and myself have experienced, and an interim Chief’s decision cannot be misrepresented as biased.”