Prince Albert Police Service unveils administrative team

The Prince Albert Police Service administrative team (left to right): Insp. Brent McDonald, Deputy Chief Jason Stonechild, Chief Jon Bergen, Insp. Craig Mushka and Insp. Tadd Kellett.

One year after the Prince Albert Police Service lost its chief, the organization once again has a fully-staffed administrative team.

New police chief Jon Bergen announced the appointment of three officers to inspector positions, administrative roles that oversee the force and report to the chief and deputy chief. The positions were filled effective last Tuesday, and the new inspectors were introduced to the public Wednesday afternoon.

The police service previously had two inspectors.

Following Troy Cooper’s departure last year to take the chief of police position in Saskatoon, and deputy chief Jeff Roden’s retirement, Bergen and now-deputy chief Jason Stonechild were promoted from their positions as inspectors into acting chief and deputy chief roles.

An additional inspector role was added after the department determined it would allow the deputy chief to better oversee the force’s operations.

 “We basically had a split where there was one inspector overseeing plainclothes areas and one inspector overseeing all the operations,” Bergen said.

“We had some other areas where management went directly to the deputy chief. My observation was that the deputy chief should be managing the inspectors and not a level of managers which includes civilians as well. When the deputy chief has a responsibility of entry-level members and up, including civilians it took away … that position’s ability to manage at the appropriate level.”

The position isn’t a new one. Rather, the force took an existing staff Sgt. position out of scope and brought it to an inspector-level on an interim, acting basis. If it goes well, the position will be made permanent. The move to add a third inspector was approved by the board of police commissioners.

“We’re going to examine (the position) to make sure that it fits the organization before it’s a permanent appointment.”

The officer in that role is Insp. Tadd Kellet.

Kellett, who is now in charge of support services, oversees the canine unit, combined traffic services, community services, bylaw and victim services. He is also responsible for the police service’s fleet vehicles, uniforms, equipment and building maintenance, as well as the SWAT team, negotiating team and police recruitment.

Kellet has been overseeing some of these responsibilities since July of 2018, around the time when Bergen and Stonechild were promoted from their positions as  inspectors on an interim basis.

“He’s been a great asset to us. We recognize his value, and we’re keeping him as our support services inspector because there are a number of areas where Tadd brings extensive vale,” Bergen said.

Kellett comes from a military background and has served with the city police for 20 years. He helped develop the force’s SWAT team and has experience in both patrol and in the traffic division. He was most recently the Staff Sgt. In charge of B Platoon.

Kellet is joined in the ranks of inspector by Brent McDonald (patrol division) and Craig Mushka (criminal investigation division).

Of the three inspectors, McDonald has been with the force the longest. He is a 23-year veteran of the police service and has served both on the uniformed side and the non-uniformed investigative side of the Prince Albert Police.

He got his start within the patrol division, but later became an expert in investigating through covert measures.

McDonald is in charge of patrol and of the cell block, overseeing guards and matrons. That scope of responsibility includes the police and crisis team, the use of force review, occupational health and safety and provincial training. He comes to the role after most recently being Staff Sgt. in charge of the Criminal Investigation Unit.

“This position oversees about 60 staff,” Bergen said. “It’s quite a challenging area to oversee.

“Brent is going into the operational inspector position. With his expertise and understanding of the detail to investigate serious criminal offences, we believe that he will be an asset to supporting our members on the front lines.”

On the flip side of the uniformed side is the ununiformed criminal investigative division.

That part of the force will be overseen by Insp. Craig Mushka. His scope of responsibility includes forensic identification, court liaison, criminal investigations (including major crimes), child protection, combined forces, dispatch, internet child exploitation, integrated street enforcement and police intelligence. He is also responsible for professional standards and the privacy and freedom of information policy.

Prior to joining administration, Mushka was the Staff Sgt. in charge of D platoon, a position he took after working for a period of time on the investigative side with major crimes. He’s been a member of the force for 18 years.

Bergen said he’s happy with the team that has been put together.

“It’s a very well-rounded team,” he said.

“We have a number of different skill sets. I was a uniformed member for a lot of my career, with some oversight and criminal investigations prior to coming into the chief’s position, the deputy chief worked closely with community and from uniformed positions, with experience coming from the police association, dealing with labour management issues. (He’s) definitely a compassionate person that works well with me.

“When we brought in the team from there, we have two staff that come with an extensive background in criminal investigations, covert operations and the understanding of special, serious investigations, which brings value to the team. Then we have the tactical background as well, with patrol and traffic.”

Now, with the full administrative team in place for the first time since Troy Cooper left the force early last year to take the top cop job in Saskatoon, the Prince Albert Police Service can focus on the business of policing.

That might include catching up on areas that didn’t get the attention they needed while the force was short staffed, and listening to the team and making sure that ideas brought forward are heard and addressed.

One such idea is already in place – a shift to the patrol structure, adding a sergeant to increase supervision and better balance the shifts for the front lines and cellblock management. That change was made this week.

Mostly, though, Bergen is looking to the future.

“You have no idea how happy I am,” Bergen said Wednesday.

‘It was a really challenging time last year to fill a new role … without support in the other roles. I definitely want to thank Jason Stonechild for being there and pulling on the line just as hard as anybody else, and Tadd Kellet for stepping up and supporting us through this transition. It was a long and challenging year. I look forward to what 2019 is going to bring.”