inJusticebusters welcome the election of Jim Maddin as the new mayor of Saskatoon and, more importantly as Chairman of the Board of Police commissioners.
Maddin ran on a platform of cleaning up the Saskatoon City Police Service. The Native community on the west side is credited with his victory. We hope that police issues will be addressed immediately. A first step would be to fire Superintendent Brian Dueck and a second one would be to fire the RCMP task force and appoint a citizen's group to take over that investigation.
According to an article "Saskatoon Freezing Deaths" in Saturday Night magazine August 19, 2000, the Native task force had received over 400 calls from citizens who had been abused by the police. inJusticebusters have also been receiving testimonials from Saskatoon people who have been harrassed for many years and have been unable to find any avenue to have their grievances fairly arbitrated. We are gathering the necessary documentation to back up these stories and will publish them as they are ready.
The Dueck story has been up for two and a half years and we are finally getting some attention.
You've been in the Mayor's Chair for a year, Jim. So I sent this letter to you, your council and your police board. You have taken charge of a commission to oversee a police force which simply has not accounted for itself since it botched the Milgaard case 30 years ago. This force blames lack of money on the rising crime rates in Saskatoon. Yet Saskatoon has more superintendents in the force than Toronto! Eleven the last time I counted. They all make a salary in the hundred thousand dollars a year range! The bad cops have risen too high and have too much control. The flow of dangerous drugs is so strong that the whole west side of Saskatoon is affected by th despair, poverty and attendant crime.
What's going on? Two years later our hopes are once again betrayed. Brian Dueck remains the top superintendent and the taxpayers are footing the bill to provide him with a vigorous defence in the $10M lawsuit. For the record, we keep this page to show how willing we were to let him have a chance . . .
-- Sheila Steele 2001
Police Chief Dave Scott and concerned citizens of Saskatoon must wait until after Christmas to find out if the head of the police force will have his contract renewed.
After a lengthy private meeting on Tuesday, the Saskatoon board of police commissioners decided in the end to hold further talks with Scott.
"The board has decided not to serve termination of contract notice to Dave Scott effective June 14, 2001. The board will be entering into further discussions with chief Scott. A public announcement will be made on Dec. 29, 2000," Mayor Jim Maddin told reporters after the nearly three-hour meeting.
Scott's five-year contract is up at the end of June 2001. The commission must give him six months notice if the contract will not be renewed.
"Really I have no further comment at this time. It is still very much an open issue. I have forwarded these remarks to the chief. I just spoke with him by telephone so he is aware of this," said the mayor.
A spokesperson for the chief said Scott would defer comment until Dec. 29.
However, earlier in the day as the board's discussions got under way behind closed doors, Scott did speak briefly to reporters. "I just want to assure the public regardless of what the commission decides, the citizens of Saskatoon be assured I will deal with it in a dignified and gracious way," he said.
Maddin would not comment further on the possible details of a contract, the chances the contract won't be renewed on Dec. 29, or the reasons why there won't be a decision until then.
"The situation has to be discussed with the chief, who is the employee. The board is the employer. When you arrive at any agreement you have to discuss it between the employer and employee," said Maddin. "We will explore all options with chief Scott."
The final ruling on the contract will be the last decision of the commission before a new board arrives Jan. 1. In addition to Maddin, other members of the current commission are councillors Peter McCann and Kate Waygood, and members of the public Todd Peterson and Joan Llewellyn.
Although the commission isn't saying much, others in the community have been tossing in their opinions about what should be done with Scott.
Perry Bellegarde, chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, said due to strained relations between police and First Nations people, the city should cut Scott loose.
Rusty Chartier, a former police officer and community policing advocate, wants the city to hold off on a decision until public consultation is done.
Before the commission closed the doors to the public Tuesday, the members received several letters of resounding support for the chief.
In addition to the superintendents in the Saskatoon Police Executive Officers Association, former city councillor Mark Thompson and the Children's Health Foundation also stood up for Scott.
Saskatoon residents will be able to have their say on the future of community policing in the city starting in the new year, says Mayor Jim Maddin.
The public input will help civic and law enforcement officials determine ways to improve policing on a community level, he said.
"Early in the new year we will begin a series of public input meetings," Maddin said Thursday after a meeting of the Saskatoon board of police commissioners.
It was the commission's first meeting since Maddin was elected mayor. He is a former city police inspector and was a city council representative on the commission prior to the election. Coun. Kate Waygood has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by former mayor Henry Dayday.
On Thursday, the commission decided to hold a closed-door meeting on Nov. 20 with commissioners and councillors to discuss issues of concern.
Maddin said the commission will then decide how best to consult with the public. "We don't have the strategy nailed down right now. But we hope to have it in place and announce it by the year end," Maddin told reporters.
New community policing initiatives will require more money in the budget, said police Chief Dave Scott.
"If you are going to do something new now, it is going to cost money. We don't have the ability to deploy resources in other areas. Those areas when they are performing their duties are very active and needed," he said after leaving the commission meeting.
He provided the commission with a detailed list of all the community projects undertaken by the police force.
The number of initiatives is actually much higher than most people think, he said, because of a lack of communication by the police in making those initiatives known.
Police work closely with business and community associations and neighbourhood parent patrols. Officers also do foot patrols in public areas, bike patrols in the core area of the city and undergo training in community policing early on, he said.
Scott said police are also working with schools to combat absenteeism among students. An aboriginal liaison officer also bridges relations between the police and First Nations people through a number of programs, particularly involving youth, he said.
Next year, Scott said he wants to put more focus on core areas. Police, he said, will ask council in next spring's budget for additional officers for the bike and beat patrols and a cultural liaison officer for Nutana Collegiate and Joe Duquette High School.
"We are looking at a number of things. Every year we have added new things. We want to look for a presence again in the city core area," he said.
Scott also said the police and Saskatoon District Health have put together a proposal that outlines how a detox centre could become reality in Saskatoon. That document is confidential at this stage, he noted.
"We are very hopeful that in the coming months we are going to be successful in having a safe detox centre for people that need proper care and management of their addictions," said Scott.
Maddin said the cost of community policing depends on the type of model used. He hopes consultations in the new year - paired with a full review of the service that he fought for in the election campaign - will go far to make communities safer.
"Community policing is labour intensive," he said.
With his mantra for change, Jim Maddin has done what only one person has done before in Saskatoon's history - take down the incumbent mayor, this time Henry Dayday.
"I thought for sure there was going to be change. We got that sensation throughout the campaign, especially in the last few days," said Maddin as the final polls were reported, widening his gap at the top of the mayor's race.
Flanked by supporters in the lobby of City Hall, Maddin was glowing with delight as the poll results were posted on a giant screen.
More than 26 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots - about four per cent higher than the previous election but still much lower than in elections past.
"The feeling I had was sort of like when I coached minor sports. When you take your team to the gold medal game, you know you have the forces to win but never know what is going to happen. That is the sensation I felt," he said.
Only once in Saskatoon's history has an opponent beat a mayor seeking re-election. In 1965 E.J. Cole was elected as mayor. When he sought re-election two years later, he was beaten by Sid Buckwold, who had previously been mayor.
Henry Dayday, who is tied as the longest-running mayor with 12 years under his belt, was gracious in defeat when he appeared at City Hall about an hour after polls closed. However, he was surprised to come in third. He said he underestimated the desire for change in the community. He will remain mayor until Oct. 30. After that, Dayday said he has not decided what to do, only that he will be busy with other interests. "This was meant to be. Obviously in this election, people thought it was time for change. "I don't have any remorse. I feel very good about the years I've served. I've had a great, great career in municipal politics. I enjoyed everything I have done. I wish Jim Maddin the best in the mayor's job. I look forward to great years in Saskatoon." Maddin will lead a council with four new faces and six veterans. Returning are Rik Steernberg in Ward 3, Myles Heidt in Ward 4, Peter McCann in Ward 5, Kate Waygood in Ward 6, Patricia Roe in Ward 7 and Don Atchison in Ward 10.
The only incumbent to lose a re-election attempt was Howard Harding in Ward 8. He was unseated by former city councillor Glen Penner.
Harding said he was not only disappointed in his loss, but the fact that Penner, who lives in Ward 5, was elected to Ward 8.
"Something doesn't sit right with that. I don't mind being bottom of the poll. My congratulations for Ward 5 for electing two representatives without any of them having to go out to vote," said Harding, referring to McCann's acclamation.
The greenhorns on council are Lenore Swystun in Ward 1, Owen Fortosky in Ward 2 and Tiffany Paulsen in Ward 9. Paulsen, a 27-year-old lawyer, broke out of the 15-candidate pack in her ward to win victory with much help from former mayor Cliff Wright, who helped head up her campaign.
Donna Birkmaier, who has been on Saskatoon's civic election scene on and off since 1976, was unsuccessful in her second attempt at the mayor's job, but did come in second. However, she said she won't disappear entirely from the civic stage.
She hopes to still be active as a member of the public on committees or other civic initiatives.
"I have nothing but good in my heart right now. I am pleased in my standing. I am not pleased that I'm not the mayor. I wanted to be there," said Birkmaier in the lobby of City Hall.
She does not regret giving up what would have been a guaranteed return to council in Ward 9.
"It just shows that you can be powerful, and the union should be happy. They've got their man in the top office," she said, referring to Maddin's perceived support from unions.
Maddin said changes will mean a difference in how policing is performed in Saskatoon and how the city is promoted internationally and to businesses. He credits his win to substantial support from the city's west side and to the need for new leadership across the city.
Now as the chair of the Saskatoon board of police commissioners, Maddin said he will bring the subject of a full police service review to the next meeting in November. He said he also wants to talk at that meeting about what to do about police Chief Dave Scott's contract, which is up for renewal.
As a member of the police commission with Maddin, McCann, said he hopes the tension he has observed between Maddin, a former police inspector, and Scott can be overcome.
"I have some concerns on the police commission of some personality problems that exist and I hope they can be put in the background and we can move ahead on the police commission," he said.
Mayor-elect Jim Maddin arrives as the new leader of Saskatoon not with a suburban or silver-spoon background, but instead of having grown up in a shack in the northern British Columbia bush often having to fend for himself.
Maddin was born 52 years ago in Kerrobert, about 180 kilometres west of Saskatoon. Raised by a single parent, he became accustomed to moving across the Prairies with his mom. Roughing it in the bush Grade 1 was spent in Swift Current. For much of his youth he lived on a farm south of Lloydminster - about four kilometres on the Alberta side of the border but strangely having a Saskatchewan mailing address.
There he went to a one-room school known fondly as Sunnydale school. "It was a nomadic existence. It was an unsettled lifestyle I had no control over, and away we went," he recalled Thursday during a walk along the picturesque riverbank. He was still glowing from his election victory the night before.
At 12, he moved not far from Dawson Creek, B.C. His mother and her new husband, who had a "pioneering spirit," had three girls. The family lived in a "rough, bush shack" with no utilities to speak of. "We homesteaded at a point between Mile 22 and Mile 26 of the Alaska Highway, between Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.
I spent four years there, living a simple country existence. No electricity, no running water, no power, no phone. Plastic windows in the house," said Maddin. He started to think about becoming a police officer at age 14. He asked some RCMP members about what it took to be an enforcer of the law. "I still have a little book they gave me when I was about 14. I look at that every once in a while."
At 16, he left his family and their impoverished homestead life and returned to the Lloydminster area alone. After working for some farmers, he moved back to Kerrobert and completed his high school education.
In the spring of 1972, he started thinking again about becoming a police officer. He was now working in the lumber business in Saskatoon, a father of a young son and husband to a woman he later divorced. Encouraged by some city police officer friends to apply to the force, Maddin did just that and two weeks later had a job with the Saskatoon Police Service.
In his 25-year tenure, Maddin worked in central records and planning. He was also one of the familiar faces at the experimental police station in Riversdale before he was transferred to major crimes. The station later closed, leaving Maddin, in his words, devastated and angry. Mayor: 'I'm committed to community policing' "We were doing some good things there. But there was resistance all around.
Resistance from other officers. Resistance from above, resistance from below. Not long after I moved out and others that I worked with too, it basically spiralled into its own death." Community-sensitive programming within a law-and-order approach is not community policing, he said. But that is what he said he saw happening in Saskatoon. "I am committed to what we call community policing. It is community involvement. It's that down-to-earth partnership, working side by side. It's a whole philosophy and attitude. I was concerned even when I worked there that it wasn't happening." He retired in 1997, taking a severance package six weeks before his 25th anniversary with the force. He started making plans to join the financial planning business.
Career Turns Corner
But a different door opened for him that summer when Herve Langlois, who was the councillor representing Ward 1 where Maddin lived, decided to challenge Dayday. The incumbent was gone in Ward 1, and Maddin jumped at the chance to run for office.
"I've always believed when the door closes behind you, even if someone closes it on you, other doors appear. It's a matter of taking opportunities. If I must say so, deciding the run for mayor this time was a very similar situation." Soon after the 1997 election, Maddin was invited, along with the other newly elected councillors, into Dayday's office. He sat beside many councillors he already knew from his time on the police force. Myles Heidt was also there, a fellow native of Kerrobert who Maddin knew well. The support he got from the other councillors in those early times was helpful beyond words, he said.
"I found that when I got onto council I knew less than I thought I did about the processes. It took a lot of time trying to get up to speed on how things worked," he said. On council, he was never one to grandstand. He picked his battles carefully, made his cases based on common sense, and often found himself with the support of his fellow councillors. Dayday also appointed him to the Saskatoon board of police commissioners. Earlier this year as the controversy erupted about officers allegedly dumping Native people out of town, Maddin was livid. He criticized the initial handling of information and the inadequacy of partnerships between the aboriginal community and police.
In the ensuing months, Maddin said he started hearing from the occasional person that he should take a shot at the mayor's chair.
As the support swelled, Maddin decided to take the plunge just days after Dayday announced he would seek a fifth term. On Wednesday night, surprising many people in Saskatoon who didn't think he had the profile to take down Dayday, Maddin did just that. He politely shook hands with the man he will succeed and revelled in the attention paid to him by the media, supporters and his partner, Bobbie Laird, in the lobby of City Hall. Thursday afternoon, dressed in a grey suit, he looked anything but the boy who spent his teen years in a rugged shack in northern B.C. He talked about bringing that old RCMP book with him when he moves into the mayor's office after Monday's swearing-in ceremony.
"Congratulations James," shouted a city worker standing beside an open pit at the bottom of the University Bridge as Maddin walked by. Maddin, clearly enjoying his new job as their boss, grasped the man's hand, shook it strongly and asked the man's name. They parted ways, but after taking only a few steps Maddin stopped and waved to the other city employees working in the pit. "You be careful down there now," he cautioned, with a boyish smirk on his face.