Alberta Mirror

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Head of Alberta’s beleaguered police watchdog company abdicates

Key takeaways: 

  • Experts state Susan Hughson’s retirement highlights ‘chaos’ in underfunded companies.
  • Susan Hughson was designated acting executive director of ASIRT in July 2014 and formally elected to the position in December of that year. 

Susan Hughson resigns as the head of beleaguered police watchdog: 

The head of Alberta’s police watchdog has abdicated, indicating what experts state is a long-foreshadowed collapse in the chronically underfunded company.

Susan Hughson, executive director of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), validated that she presented her leaving Tuesday morning, but refused to talk further.

“It (ASIRT) is in disarray,” stated Edmonton criminal defence lawyer Tom Engel, whose company practices in accusations against police. Source – cbc.ca

“They have no leadership and I don’t know what they are going to do to try to replace these people,” stated Engel, who wrote ASIRT’s former assistant executive director Greg Gudelot lately left, as did another ASIRT team who either leave or resigned. Source – cbc.ca

“It is not like a toxic workplace or something like that. It is just a frustration that they can’t do their job.”  Source – cbc.ca

Read more: Costlier energy costs increase Alberta’s second-quarter financial outlook

Engel stated the loss of Hughson is a tremendous shock to the company.

“She has been an excellent executive director,” he stated. “She has done her best with limited resources and under her leadership, generally, investigations have been thorough and objective.” Source – cbc.ca

Hughson was designated acting executive director in July 2014 and was formally elected in December 2014. Her last day on the job is Dec. 8. She is seeking Alberta Justice’s special achievements unit as a prosecutor.

Hughson’s departure reflects a new questionable ruling by Alberta’s Crown Prosecution Service to stay an onslaught charge laid by ASIRT upon an Edmonton police officer following a two-year probe. 

Const. Dylan Awid was caught on cellphone video by many residents in June 2019 regularly kicking and then throwing a handcuffed prisoner recklessly into a brick wall.

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