The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) was created under the Police Act and is mandated by Section 46.1 to investigate incidents involving Alberta's police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct. While ASIRT is an agency within the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, it operates at arm's length from police agencies. All ASIRT investigations and decisions are independent of the government.
ASIRT is a civilian-led agency that consists of a blend of civilian investigators and investigators seconded from various Alberta police agencies. This "hybrid" model was deliberately selected prior to the establishment of ASIRT as a made-in- and made-for-Alberta solution.
This model is an innovative approach to investigating often complex incidents involving Alberta's police. ASIRT's investigators are its front line, its "face" in the community. In accordance with the Police Act and internal operating policies and procedures, investigators conduct thorough, independent, objective, and timely investigations into incidents that fall under ASIRT's mandate.
The Executive Director of ASIRT has authority under the Police Act to lay criminal charges against police officers when the evidence gathered during an investigation forms grounds to believe a criminal offence has been committed.
ASIRT's mission was established upon the agency's creation and remains clear: "To effectively, independently, and objectively investigate incidents involving Alberta's police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct."
Under Section 25 of the Criminal Code, police officers are granted extraordinary powers and duties, including the authority to detain citizens and to use lethal force in the enforcement of the law when necessary. Civilian oversight of police is critical and ensures Alberta's police are accountable for their actions when critical incidents occur.