Original Published 09:01 May 27, 2022
By KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The first meeting of Medicine Hat’s Police Commission since former chief Mike Worden’s resignation Monday provided little additional information about what transpired prior to Worden’s departure.
A report by Global News, published Wednesday, alleges Worden left the service following an external investigation into non-workplace misconduct relating to sexual behaviour. Specifically called into question, was an alleged sexual relationship he had while acting as chief.
The report claims Worden initiated contact with a woman, who remains unnamed, through his public Facebook account and, eventually, entered into sexual relationship with her. Global News alleges that, following a complaint to the police commission about Worden’s sexual behaviour, an investigation was launched. The woman cited in Global News’s report claims, around this same time, Worden instructed her to delete all evidence of their relationship and deny its occurrence.
The police commission admitted in a Thursday statement an investigation was launched in March, but provided few other details.
“Earlier this spring, after having heard of allegations of non-workplace misconduct, the former chief, himself, brought these circumstances to the commission’s attention,” the statement read. “The commission treated it as a complaint and put in place an investigative process, conducted by a law firm not based in Medicine Hat, to ensure complete independence. The law firm, in turn, hired an investigator to conduct a thorough review. The commission had no contact with the investigator and no limits were placed on their inquiry.
“The commission received the initial information from the former chief at the beginning of March, and the work to establish and complete the investigative process took approximately two months. A summary report was submitted to the commission clearing former chief Worden of any wrongdoing. These findings were also forwarded to the Solicitor General, who confirmed proper protocols had been followed by the commission.”
The commission ended the statement by saying Worden’s departure is a Medicine Hat Police Service human relations matter and no further comments would be provided.
When asked by the News whether the summary report clearing Worden of wrongdoing would be released, the commission stated it would not be, nor would any further details of the report be provided.
During Thursday’s meeting, the commission made no mention of Worden. Topics discussed during the meeting included an MHPS budget update, the office of the chief report and a presentation on police holding facility operations.
During a public question period following the meeting, committee member and city Coun. Shila Sharps responded to several questions about Worden’s resignation still unanswered.
When asked if Worden’s attempts to conceal evidence of his relationship – as reported by Global News – would constitute as obstruction in the eyes of the committee, Sharps reiterated the summary report cleared Worden of any wrongdoing.
“Allegations, doesn’t mean they were correct,” said Sharps.
The News followed up by asking whether Global News’s report was incorrect, Sharps responded: “Why don’t you ask Global News that, respectfully? I can’t tell you why (the reporter) would say that. We all know the investigation was incredibly thorough and incredibly complete.
“This is a gentleman who gave his resignation. And he gave it for personal reasons. And those are HR matters. And no matter where you are in the world, HR is confidential.”
This item reprinted with permission from Medicine Hat News, Medicine Hat, Alberta