Council fills spot left open on Winnipeg's police board after failed security check

Coun. Brian Mayes has been appointed to Winnipeg's police board. The veteran politician is a replacement for Coun. Vivian Santos, who failed a police background check for the position.

Brian Mayes takes place on board after Vivian Santos resigned following police background check

Mayes passed the security check necessary for a seat on the board, but says a review of how they are done should be carried out. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

A seat on the police board  — empty since July — has been filed by veteran politician Brian Mayes after council voted on Tuesday to give the spot to the St. Vital councillor.

The space was vacant when Coun. Vivian Santos resigned after she failed a police background check required for all members of that board.

Mayes passed the background check, but declined to comment directly on what happened to Santos, other than to say she was his first pick for the seat last summer and does believe a review of how the security checks are done is needed.

"We should revisit how that's done. I don't know how exactly. People are saying you could refer it to the RCMP, but the first thing the RCMP might do is pick up the phone and call Winnipeg police," Mayes said.

After Santos' failed security check, some Winnipeggers questioned whether the Winnipeg Police Service should be responsible for a background check on individuals who maintain oversight of the service.

Santos told CBC News she supports Mayes' appointment and pledged to work with him and board chair Markus Chambers.

Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos says she is 'still working on clearing my name' after the failed security check. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

"Both do know the challenges our city faces with respect to policing and the communities request for more citizen oversight and potential reform," Santos said in a written statement.

Santos said she is "still working on clearing my name and reviewing different legal avenues."

Mayes acknowledged it has been a "controversial year" for police services across North America with demonstrations calling to defund police.

"I don't claim to have all the answers. I obviously come to this not a visible minority; I haven't had a lot of experiences other people have had with police. I think I've got things to learn — I'll be asking questions — that's my role," Mayes said.