Private meeting to decide future of Peel police chief
Peel police services board will vote on Chief Jennifer Evans's request for a contract extention
A private meeting of the Peel Regional Police board on Tuesday will decide the future of the region's controversial police chief, CBC Toronto has learned.
The closed-door vote could see Chief Jennifer Evans continue to lead the country's third-largest police force for another two years — or set in motion the search for her replacement.
While Evans is facing a lawsuit, calls to resign, and criticism over the contentious practice of carding, she previously requested a two-year extension of her five-year contract, which expires in October.
"I continue to be inspired by the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Peel Regional Police, as well as the community we serve," Evans wrote in a statement to CBC Toronto. "I remain committed to working with our community, the Peel Police services board and all employees of Peel Regional Police."
The seven-member board has until Friday to inform Evans if it will extend her contract or begin searching for a replacement, according to sources familiar with the process.
Board chair Amrik Singh Ahluwalia, however, told CBC Toronto that all decisions regarding the contracts of police brass and other human resource matters are confidential.
Other board members declined to comment ahead of the meeting.
In an email to CBC Toronto, Ahluwalia said the board will release its decision to the public before June 30.
Carding and controversies
For community groups who have been pushing for change within Peel police ranks, there's frustration that board policy requires a closed-door meeting for such a critical decision.
"Consistently, policy is used as a reason not to go through an open process," Ranjit Khatkur, a member of the Peel Coalition Against Racialized Discrimination (P-CARD), said in an interview.
P-CARD submitted a letter to the board ahead of the meeting expressing its desire for a change in the leadership of the force.
Evans has spent much of the last two years of her contract responding to controversies, including calls from the community to resign over her handling of the carding issue.
"The community really doesn't have faith in the current chief. Trust is eroding on a daily basis," Khatkur said
Evans is also named, along with the police services board, in a $21-million lawsuit alleging that she interfered in the investigation into a fatal shooting involving several of her officers in 2015. The chief denies any wrongdoing and has filed a statement of defence saying so.
And in April, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that Staff Sgt. Baljiwan Sandhu was discriminated against and denied a promotion within Peel police because of his Sikh background.
Following the report, Evans said that she was "very concerned" about the findings and noted the force has made changes to its promotional process.