Alberta’s current system for how it handles complaints against alleged police misconduct is flawed, especially within Edmonton’s police service, according to a union that represents all of the city’s cops.

The president of the Edmonton Police Association says the service doesn’t have the manpower to police themselves and it usually takes five to 10 years before a case has been closed.

“There needs to be a revamped system from top to bottom,” said union head Sgt. Tony Simioni, who urged the province to create a civilian oversight body to handle all of the cases because the service has “nothing to hide.”

Simioni says police in Edmonton have to live under the most scrutiny than any other Canadian city after a number of highly publicized cases in recent years, including an alleged attempt to target a local newspaper journalist with a drunk driving charge.

The scrutiny has caused a public relations nightmare for the police service, said Simioni — a reason why the city has recorded 21 disciplinary hearings in 2008 compared to Calgary, which has only had one.

It was a number that followed after police Chief Mike Boyd took over the service three years ago, said Simioni.

“The plan of the police chief was to clean up the police service, and we’ve been paying the price for it ever since,” said Simioni.

Const. Rick Abbott, a tactical officer who spent six years defending himself over a complaint, said the system needs major tweaking.

“We want to be accountable for what we do,” said Abbott. “We just want it to be done with less bias towards us so we’re the first to say we need help from the outside.

Alberta solicitor general Fred Lindsay says the current system in place works and the provincial government has no reason to change it.

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