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Police chief denies executives behind review leak

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Leaked information about potential cuts to the Winnipeg Police Service in an operational review did not spill from the lips of top police brass, Chief Devon Clunis said Thursday.

"I can say without a shadow of a doubt that information did not come from any member of our executive," Clunis told reporters during a hastily called news conference.

Clunis was responding to allegations that leaks about the review were made by WPS senior executives out of self-interest.

The Free Press exclusively reported Thursday that the operational review of the WPS by Matrix Consulting Groups Ltd. recommends major cuts, including disbanding the vice squad and the cold-case unit that digs into unsolved homicides.

A final draft of the report is expected to be presented to Mayor Sam Katz and his executive committee next month.

It also proposes reducing the size of the stolen-auto unit and closing the clandestine-laboratory unit and contracting the work out to the RCMP's lab.

The depth of the cuts deepened after Matrix's initial drafts got feedback from city councillors and senior administrators, a source said.

The accuracy of this information was confirmed by city Coun. Russ Wyatt. It was Wyatt who identified senior police executives as its source to the newspaper, adding they are motivated by self-interest.

Clunis declined to answer questions about the operational review, results of which are expected in the next few weeks. He said he has seen the report as he sits on the steering committee.

"This specific operational review, I've said very consistently, that I'm very supportive of," he said.

Clunis said he was stepping forward to comment in order to clear the air with the public.

"This particular news story, when I saw it, is actually attacking the credibility of the organization, the leadership. For us not to step forward and say, 'this is what the truth is,' I think people form their own opinions, decisions and in the absence of something from ourselves — I know typically what human nature is," Clunis said.

"'If they're saying nothing, it must be the truth. Well, it's not the truth," he said.

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