ALBERTA

Rick Hanson Says He Doesn't Understand Need For ASIRT Probe

07/02/2015 06:49 EDT | Updated 07/03/2016 05:59 EDT
CP
CALGARY - Calgary's former police chief says he can't understand why Alberta government investigators are looking into conflict-of-interest allegations over the deployment of officers to a district in the city.

Rick Hanson said he made the decision about the officers on his last day on the job before announcing he would run for the Progressive Conservatives in the May 5 provincial election.

The 22 new officers were assigned to parts of the city that fall within Calgary-Cross, the constituency that Hanson ran in.

Hanson said the deployment of the officers had been planned for some time and he didn't want to leave it unresolved.

Last Friday, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deployment of police during the provincial election.

ASIRT said it has been directed to determine whether those circumstances provide reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed, but didn't name Hanson.

"I can't wait for ASIRT to interview me," Hanson said Thursday. "I'm getting really anxious to talk to them because what I have to present to them is a voluminous amount of documentation."

Hanson said the paper trail supports the move was backed by interim Chief Paul Cook and that it was announced to all troops and the Calgary Police Commission.

"If somebody is saying it's a conflict of interest, that's fine, let's bring down the investigators, let's talk to them right away, let them review the paper work and let's get this over with, because there's no impropriety at all," he said.

"I'd make the same decision, even knowing this outcome, make the same decision again, because it's based on the best interest of the city of Calgary."

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he believes ASIRT will conduct a thorough and fair investigation, but he doesn't believe they'll find anything improper.

"I watched this election closer than anybody and I live in northeast Calgary and I never heard one breath of anyone saying that the former police chief was using his status as the former police chief in bringing officers to northeast Calgary to his political advantage and if that's what people are concerned about, I see no evidence of that," Nenshi said.

"Speaking as a citizen and someone who looks after the police budget, I don't see anything here."

Hanson lost the election to NDP candidate Ricardo Miranda by just 100 votes.

(CFFR, CHQR, The Canadian Press)