Survey of Fredericton police officers finds poor morale within force

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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FREDERICTON - Mayor Brad Woodside has told police Chief Barry MacKnight to improve morale within his department following the release of a survey that showed a lack of confidence by officers in the abilities of upper management.
"What I am saying to the police is sit down, clean it up and deal with it," Woodside said Wednesday.
The report, prepared for the Fredericton police union, found that only 10 per cent of survey respondents had confidence in MacKnight, while 26 per cent had confidence in Deputy Chief Leanne Fitch.
It also questioned the chief's accessibility, his vision for the future, and his ability to communicate effectively.
"Labour management seems to be a problem there," Woodside said. "I have spoken to the city administrator. I have spoken to the chief and I want morale back where it should be and I want these issues dealt with."
MacKnight said he takes responsibility when things go wrong in the police department.
"We are going to address the issues that can be addressed and should be addressed," he said. "This is an important issue for us (but) we are not going to make any snap decision."
The survey suggested that a climate of fear exists within the force and that members feel MacKnight believes all public complaints made against officers.
MacKnight said the past year was a tough one for officers with respect to public complaints.
"One of the major themes I am taking away from this is anxiety about internal investigations," he said.
He said he's accessible to members of the force but admitted some people may feel he isn't.
MacKnight said morale is always a concern because it has a direct impact on the provision of good services to citizens.
He said he will go over the report and identify what its major themes are and what can be done to address them.

Geographic location: Fredericton

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