Province appoints new IIU director
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Manitoba’s police watchdog has a new civilian director.
Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen has appointed attorney Roxanne Gagné to lead the province’s Independent Investigation Unit effective July 1.
Inaugural civilian director Zane Tessler’s term concludes June 30, after 10 years in the role.
“Roxanne Gagné is an experienced and respected leader who has dedicated her career to the law, and with close to three decades of work in the justice system, she has a wealth of knowledge and experience that will serve her well as she leads the IIU moving forward,” Goertzen said in a release.
Gagné has worked in the criminal justice system for more than 25 years and was Crown counsel with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in Winnipeg and Montreal before moving to the Department of Justice Canada, the release said.
She is listed by The Law Society of Manitoba as practising lawyer with the Public Prosecution Service.
In her role with the Justice Department, Gagné provided legal advice and written opinions to clients from Indigenous and Northern Relations Canada and Indigenous Services Canada, the province said.
She also provided direction on the implementation of policies and programs respecting reconciliation of Indigenous rights and self-determination.
The IIU’s civilian director is responsible for the administration and operation of the unit and oversees investigators and officers, support staff and subject matter experts who investigate serious incidents involving police.
Responsibilities include the mandatory investigation of incidents in which civilians suffer serious injuries or death as a result of contact with police, and other offences prescribed by regulation under the Police Services Act.
“A civilian-led investigation unit is a cornerstone of the Police Services Act and the IIU plays an important part in reinforcing the confidence of Manitobans in our police services,” Goertzen said.
Tessler was first appointed to the IIU on March 2, 2013.
He was responsible for establishing policies, regulations and hiring investigators for the independent agency following its creation in the wake of the 2008 Taman Inquiry.
The government inquiry was called into the 2005 death of 40-year-old Crystal Taman, who was killed in 2005 by Derek Harvey-Zenk, an off-duty Winnipeg police officer who was allegedly driving drunk when his truck rear-ended the vehicle Taman was driving when she was stopped at a red light.
The unit became operational in June 2015.