Published:November 17, 2021
Morale within the Calgary Police Service is the lowest it’s been in a decade, according to the results of a recent survey of employees that senior management described internally as “not what we hoped.”
The Calgary police commission’s 2021 employee engagement report released this week showed growing dissatisfaction with leadership and workloads among employees, and a precipitous drop in employee morale compared to last year.
Just 19 per cent of respondents said morale at the Calgary Police Service is good, down from 36 per cent in 2020.
In an internal memo distributed to employees Monday, Chief Mark Neufeld and senior police leadership acknowledged that they had anticipated that the results of the survey might be “difficult to swallow.”
“The results, though not what we hoped, are being used to guide our decision-making,” read the memo.
“One of the biggest concerns we heard was that our members are feeling overworked and undervalued. As a result, one of our top priorities moving forward will be to advocate, prioritize and shift our resources as necessary.”
The online survey by Illumina Research Partners polled 1,375 CPS members (961 sworn officers and 414 civilian employees) from Aug. 16 to Sep. 8, with a response rate of 44 per cent.
It found more than half of the sworn members surveyed indicated that they are not proud to work for CPS.
The survey also found that a majority of Calgary police officers, about 72 per cent, would not recommend a career with the service to their friends and family.
The police commission said in a statement that the survey reflects the growing challenges and effects that have arisen from the pandemic, consistent protests and the growing public policy discussion on defunding police services.
But the biggest challenge identified by survey respondents was around workloads and staffing: just 10 per cent of employees agreed that CPS is adequately staffed, compared to 29 per cent last year.
The commission said it has requested that city council agree to fund 38 additional full-time equivalent positions , in addition to the 60 new positions already planned for 2022.
“As the city continues to grow in terms of population and geography, CPS resources have remained static for the past four years. In fact, we now have one of the lowest employee-to-population ratios in the country,” the commission said in a statement.
The commission also noted the survey showed a significant decline in several important areas, including employee morale, employee engagement and feeling valued by the public and CPS leadership.
The survey found just 20 per cent of employees felt that a climate of trust exists between CPS senior leaders and employees, down from 31 per cent last year.
Neufeld said in a public statement Wednesday that the service will work with the commission and council to address the issues raised in the survey.
“We know that change is needed and realize I have fallen short in supporting our members in ways that are meaningful to them,” the statement read.
“Our top priority will be to address resource, morale and leadership disconnects.”