Police commission board announced

Manitoba's new provincial police commission will include the husband of Crystal Taman.
Justice Minister Andrew Swan said the appointment of the Manitoba Police Commission is the next crucial step in implementing the Police Services Act. ((CBC))

The board of Manitoba's new provincial police commission will include the husband of Crystal Taman.

The appointments to the long-awaited commission were announced Friday morning by Attorney General Andrew Swan.
Robert Taman has been advocating for accountability and integrity in policing since his wife was killed in a crash in 2005. ((CBC))

"This diverse group of men and women will play a fundamental part in providing a new era of civilian input, governance, transparency and accountability in the delivery of policing services in Manitoba," Swan stated in a government news release.

"We're taking the next step in replacing outdated legislation with the new Police Services Act, ensuring that our police officers are supported with a modern act and that citizens can play a crucial role in overseeing the delivery of policing services well into the future."

The new commission will be headed by Dr. Rick Linden, a criminologist and the co-chair of the Manitoba Auto Theft Task Force.

"This is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to working with police, communities and the province to help improve policing practices in Manitoba," said Linden.

Lynn Sauvé has been appointed as the vice chair. Sauvé has extensive experience working in the north and is the program director at the Boys and Girls Club of Thompson.

The other commission members include:

  • Sam Anderson
  • Mildred (Missy) Flett
  • Joe Gallagher
  • Roberta Graham
  • Harley Grouette
  • Robert Taman
  • Habtamu Wedajo.
Crystal Taman, in a photograph filed as an exhibit in the inquiry.

Taman has been advocating for accountability and integrity in policing since his wife was killed in a crash in 2005. An off-duty police officer was driving the other car.

Crystal Taman, a 40-year-old mother of three, was killed when her car, stopped at a traffic light in East St. Paul, was struck by a pickup truck driven by 31-year-old Derek Harveymordenzenk, then an off-duty Winnipeg police officer who had spent the night partying with colleagues.

Harveymordenzenk, also known as Derek Harvey-Zenk, received a two-year conditional sentence after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death.

Public outcry over the light sentence led to a provincial inquiry that in turn, led to recommendations for fundamental changes to the structure of policing in Manitoba.

The new Police Services Act was drafted following the recommendations of the Taman Inquiry, an extensive review of best practices in other jurisdictions and consultations on key issues with the public, community groups,  police chiefs, police associations, First Nations, Aboriginal and municipal leaders and organizations, and other stakeholders, said Swan.

The appointment of the Manitoba Police Commission is the next crucial step in implementing the Police Services Act and the advice and guidance of the Manitoba Police Commission will help the province bring other key components of the legislation to life, he added.

Police photo of Crystal Taman's car after the crash on Feb. 25, 2005. ((Taman Inquiry))
The commission will provide advice on required policing standards including police training and equipment. It will help train the local police boards that will have to be established in places operating their own police services.
Derek Harvey-Zenk recalled little about the time before, after or during the crash that killed Crystal Taman during his testimony at the Taman Inquiry on Aug. 6, 2008. ((CBC))

The commission will also recruit and train the roster of civilians who will monitor investigations of police incidents and allegations against police officers by the independent investigation unit (IIU) to be established under the Police Services Act. This is an essential step towards the establishment of the IIU, Swan said.

Local police boards trained by the commission will have the power to hire the police chief, propose and administer police budgets, and set the general direction and operation of its police service.

The commission can also consult with the public on behalf of the minister and can be asked to do special studies on emerging policing issues such as recruitment, continuing education of police officers, cross-cultural training and new equipment that may help with crime fighting.

Commission member bios

Rick Linden Linden is a sociology professor and research fellow with the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba. He has co-chaired Manitoba’s Auto Theft Task Force since 2001 and is on the management committee of Winnipeg’s Gang Response and Analysis Program (GRASP). He is the author of more than 60 published papers and reports and is the author or editor of four books, including Canada’s best-selling criminology text. Linden helped draft the policing section of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry report and prepared reports on policing and crime prevention for the Aboriginal Justice Implementation Committee.

Lynn Sauvé Sauvé has an extensive background in counselling, with expertise in mediation, conflict resolution, human resource management and group facilitation. She has worked as a life-skills coach, employment facilitator and counsellor. Her volunteer and community commitments include involvement with the Northern Grandmothers Council, Adolescent Health Education Centre Committee, Sexually Exploited Youth Committee and Safer Choices Northern Network Committee and assisting at the Burntwood Regional Health Resource Centre.

Sam Anderson Anderson was the executive vice-president of community relations with the Tribal Council Investment Group (TCIG) following his retirement from the RCMP. Originally from the Dauphin River First Nation in Manitoba, Anderson’s more than 25 years of policing experience included heading the RCMP’s Aboriginal Policing Service, where he was involved with community justice forums. The recipient of numerous policing awards, Anderson focused on the principles of restorative justice, suicide prevention and working to improve cultural awareness.

Mildred (Missy) Flett Flett is a member of the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF). Originally from Norway House, she attended both Red River College and the University of Manitoba studying business administration. She has received infantry training with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and has served as the communications co-ordinator and community relations officer for the MMF as well as chair of the Norway House MMF local. She worked as the director of sales, marketing and programs with the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce, and is currently a facilitator with the organization, assisting clients with resume preparation, career counselling and interview preparation.

Joe Gallagher Born and raised in Winnipeg, Gallagher graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a bachelor of arts degree and the University of Manitoba with a bachelor of laws degree. He worked for the Winnipeg Police Service for more than 29 years and retired as a deputy chief of police. He followed his policing career with practising law, including six years with the Law Society of Manitoba and two years with the Manitoba ombudsman’s office. For the past four years he has been involved in a general law practice in Winnipeg. He has been a volunteer and served on the board of the United Way of Winnipeg. He is a former board member of Citizens Against Impaired Driving (now MADD Manitoba).

Roberta Graham Graham is president of the Canadian Registry for Marriage and Family Therapists and is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She has maintained a private practice in therapy in Brandon for the past 14 years and is an assistant professor in psychiatric nursing at Brandon University.  She teaches courses on counselling theory and skills and abuse in families, and is a sessional instructor in the masters of marriage and family program with Aurora Family Therapy Centre at the University of Winnipeg.

Harley Grouette Grouette is senior human resources manager at Maple Leaf Foods and an active member of the Brandon community. He is the vice-chair of the board for the Brandon YMCA and has been involved in all aspects of the new YMCA building project. He is also an active member of the board of the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation and the Food for Thought Program in Brandon. His first career was with the RCMP and he was stationed in British Columbia for 22 years.

Robert Taman Taman works in sales at Jayvee Distributors. He has been actively involved in advocating for accountability and integrity in policing since the death of his wife Crystal in 2005. Her death was the subject of a provincial inquiry that led to recommendations for fundamental changes to the structure of policing in Manitoba.

Habtamu Wedajo Wedajo worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, as an interpreter and local advisor prior to coming to Canada. He is currently a community resource co-ordinator with the Immigrants and Refugees Community Organization of Manitoba. He is a board member with the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg Refugee Sponsors Group and a member of the community advisory committee to the Occupational Health and Safety Centre of Winnipeg.