The Prince Albert Chief of Police resigned Thursday after an investigative report was publicly released proving neglect of duty in the death of an infant.
An inquest into the death of 13-month-old Tanner Brass said that members of the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) did not correctly perform their duties on the day he died.
Tanner died on Feb. 10, 2022, in a home in Prince Albert. Police were called to the home earlier that morning to handle a domestic dispute.
The officers did not enter the house to check on Tanner, leaving him locked inside with his father who his partner claimed was intoxicated and abusive. Tanner died later that morning and his father was charged with his second-degree murder. The matter will be tried before the courts in February 2024.
The results of the investigation left the Prince Albert police chief to decide on any disciplinary actions against the officers.
However, in a media statement Thursday evening, Bergen said he is unable to accept the responsibility and announced his retirement from the force.
“It is very public knowledge that my decisions as Chief in this matter have become the subject of escalating criticism and personal attack from a specific core of current and past members of the Prince Albert Police Service,” Bergen’s statement read.
“The circumstances of the attacks on my family leave me in a position that, if I were to accept the responsibilities on me as Chief of Police under the Investigation Report released today – to discipline members, or to further investigate supervising members – it could be misrepresented as biased and influenced by the manner in which my family has been treated.”
Bergen said he faced backlash from members of the PAPS when he decided to suspend the two officers involved pending the review.
“The Service has left those members unsupported and vulnerable,” he said. “These decisions have been personally difficult for me, as have other decisions that I have made that have motivated a very persistent and extraordinary assault on my character, harassment of my family, and criticism of members of my executive team over the past 3 years.”
Bergen added he still stands by his decisions.
“I am, for these reasons, and with a very full heart, announcing my retirement from the Prince Albert Police Service after 25 years,” Bergen announced.
His retirement date is May 31. In the meantime, an interim Chief of Police will be arranged with the Saskatoon Police Service.
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