Privacy boss to probe warrant campaign
Commissioner looking at whole initiative, not just one case
Alberta's privacy commissioner has opened an investigation into a warrant crackdown campaign that led to Edmonton police identifying suspected young offender in newspapers and on their website.
On Monday, police published the name and picture of a 16-year-old girl in an advertisement for Operation Warrant Execution without first obtaining a court order —a violation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Police Chief Rod Knecht apologized to the girl and her family on Tuesday and announced that the RCMP has been called to investigate. He said he welcomed an investigation by the privacy commissioner.
Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton said on Wednesday that she will investigate by taking a look at the overall initiative, where police publish the names and photographs of people wanted on outstanding warrants. Clayton says her findings will be made public.
"I do have some questions about the initiative," she said.
"Overall what I'm interested in with this investigation is just to have a better understanding of the scope of the initiative, the purpose, the intent - how personal information is being managed and how the provisions of the FOIP [Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy] act are being complied with."
The probe won't focus on any one case. Clayton's office hasn't heard from the individuals identified in the police campaign but will investigate if someone complains.
Edmonton police launched Operation Warrant Execution last month to clear more than 16,000 outstanding warrants.
Scofflaws had until April 2 to turn themselves in before police went public with their names and pictures.