Blue Line

SIRT begins investigation into Monday night police involved shooting

January 19, 2023  By Bailey Sutherland, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Jan. 19, 2023, Prince Albert, Sask. – The Prince Albert Police Service’s Chief of Police held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to read a statement regarding Monday night’s officer-involved shooting in the South Industrial area of the city that left one man dead.

While Chief Jonathan Bergen couldn’t go into specific details due to an independent investigation being conducted into the incident by the Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), he explained that a relief shift was brought in overnight to manage front-line calls for service and provide support.

“Our members are receiving support from many parts of our organization and our in-house wellness team, along with our Chaplain and Elders,” said Bergen. “An officer-involved shooting is an extremely tragic and traumatic event. We are committed to supporting our members and families through wellness resources and peer programs, while recognizing that each impacted by this tragedy will have individual needs.”

Around 10:40 p.m. on Monday night, a member of the Prince Albert Police Service was called to the 400 Block of South Industrial Drive for an investigation. During the interaction with police, a confrontation with a man took place during which a firearm was discharged.

According to a media release, the man was struck, treated by EMS and transported to hospital, where he has since been pronounced deceased as a result of the incident.

Bergen said that as police officers, they put trust in their training and legislation to guide them through use-of-force decisions and their actions.

“No police officer wakes up, puts on a uniform and wants to be faced with the most difficult decision that we will ever have to make as a police officer,” Bergen continued.

Over the last 30 years, the Prince Albert Police Service has experienced three other officer-involved shootings, with the last occurring in 2013. This is the fourth officer-involved fatal shooting in the organization’s entire 136-year history.

“We are thankful for the independent body that responded quickly to our call, immediately after this tragic event. The SIRT model has been successful in other provinces and we trust the investigative process and review that is underway,” added Bergen.

While it’s still early on into the investigation process, Bergen said their number one priority is making sure that all members that have information that could aid SIRT are made available to the investigators.

Bergen said the police service recognizes there will be many questions from the public and a family and community that are in mourning, but added they are not able to discuss any details related to the SIRT investigation.

This incident is the first time a municipal police force has had an opportunity to be directly investigated by the civilian-led, independent police oversight body since The Police (Serious Incident Response Team) Amendment Act, 2021 officially came into force on Jan. 1. SIRT investigates matters where serious injury or death may have occurred while in the custody of police, as a result of the actions of a police officer.

Bergen said the response from SIRT was quick, with officers in the Prince Albert Police Service building in a short amount of time after being called who worked overnight and into the day.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen and with the response that we’ve seen, we really appreciate that that model is in place and that the investigation is going to be thorough and very detailed,” Bergen said. “With that, we’ll trust in the process.”

Members of the Prince Albert Police Service remain in the 400 Block of South Industrial Drive and the business area can expect to see a police presence for the remainder of Tuesday.

– Prince Albert Daily Herald

Print this page


Stories continue below