Police commission symbolizes Crown connection

Matt
Matt Gardner
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Inspector Jeff Rowden of the Prince Albert Police Service receives his Commissioned Officer designation last week from Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield (left) and Minister Responsible for Corrections and Policing Christine Tell (right) at a ceremony in Regina.

The designation of a local police inspector as a commissioned officer underscores the traditional ties between law enforcement and the monarchy, according to the head of the Prince Albert Police Service.

Inspector Jeff Rowden received his commission along with four other municipal police officers last week at a ceremony in Regina at Government House, providing each with command authority directly from the Crown.

“The commission that he received is a symbolic recognition of our connection to the Crown,” Police Chief Troy Cooper said, noting other local symbols of the monarchy such as the Court of Queen’s Bench.

“This is just a way of recognizing what the commitment is that Jeff has been asked to do,” Cooper added. “He’s no longer just an employee of the Prince Albert Police Service. He’s also been commissioned by the Queen’s representative in Canada to do her work.

“In other words, he’s been asked to sort of represent the Crown in the work that he does in policing and maintaining public safety … It’s symbolic, we understand that, but it’s a recognition for the rank that he’s received and we’re proud of him.”

The presentation of formal commissions, traditionally awarded to members of the RCMP who had achieved a senior rank, is a comparatively recent development for municipal police forces.

Amendments to the Police Act in 2005 made Saskatchewan the first province in Canada to present Lieutenant Governor’s Commissions to senior ranking municipal police officers.

“The officers are presented with a formal commission upon achieving senior rank of inspector … The RCMP have the same program where senior-ranking officers are presented with a formal commission issued by the Governor General of Canada upon receiving their senior rank,” Ministry of Justice communications consultant Janice Wilby said.

He’s been asked to ... represent the Crown in the work that he does in policing and maintaining public safety … It’s a recognition for the rank that he’s received and we’re proud of him. Police Chief Troy Cooper

Currently in charge of the local criminal investigation division, Rowden first joined the Prince Albert Police Service in August 1994.

Over the years, he moved from conducting foot patrols to working as part of the joint forces, child protection and major crimes units. Last April, the inspector received his bachelor’s degree in justice studies.

Along with Rowden, officers who received commissions last week included Inspector Richard McKenna of the Moose Jaw Police Service, Inspector Sheree Ortman and Inspector Corey Zaharuk of the Regina Police Service and Inspector Mitch Yuzdepski of the Saskatoon Police Service.

“Saskatchewan’s small, so every one of us who received our commissions are all familiar with each other,” Rowden noted. “We’ve gotten to know each other well over the years.”

Particularly fitting was Rowden’s earning of a commission at the same time as Zaharuk, since the two had maintained a long-standing friendship since their training days at the Saskatchewan Police College.

“It was a pretty great experience to be able to share that with him because we’ve been close friends ever since that time,” Rowden said. “That was of course front and centre in my mind, but … the recognition was certainly a welcomed and appreciated part of it.

“It’s pretty rare that you receive that kind of recognition in a career and I was very appreciative of it, that’s for sure.”

Organizations: Saskatchewan Police College, Prince Albert Police Service, Government House RCMP Ministry of Justice

Geographic location: Regina, Canada, Saskatchewan Moose Jaw Saskatoon

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