Our Commitment to Action

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Following the death of George Floyd, Edmonton City Council held public hearings to better understand how Edmontonians viewed police-community relationships. The response at the hearings highlighted the tenuous nature of police-community relationships in Edmonton, and that a segment of the Edmonton population has historically not felt seen, heard or protected by police. Overall the need for an equitable, restorative and on-going approach came to the forefront.

“Commitment to Action” is the Edmonton Police Service's plan to move forward. We are creating space for extensive engagement with communities - communities we haven’t always heard from or or truly listened to. At the same time we are creating space to listen, we also want to start working with the community to action and implement the necessary changes we hear are required. This is not simply just another consultation or listening campaign, we want to move into action and change immediately. That is our commitment.

Following the death of George Floyd, Edmonton City Council held public hearings to better understand how Edmontonians viewed police-community relationships. The response at the hearings highlighted the tenuous nature of police-community relationships in Edmonton, and that a segment of the Edmonton population has historically not felt seen, heard or protected by police. Overall the need for an equitable, restorative and on-going approach came to the forefront.

“Commitment to Action” is the Edmonton Police Service's plan to move forward. We are creating space for extensive engagement with communities - communities we haven’t always heard from or or truly listened to. At the same time we are creating space to listen, we also want to start working with the community to action and implement the necessary changes we hear are required. This is not simply just another consultation or listening campaign, we want to move into action and change immediately. That is our commitment.

  • September 2020 - January 2021 Report

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    01 Feb 2021
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  • November Update

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    01 Dec 2020
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    November was a busy month for our project team. With the rise in COVID-19 cases in Edmonton and the surrounding area, we quickly pivoted our two EPS hosted sessions to ZOOM conversations, rather than in person sessions in South East and South West Edmonton. We were grateful to all participants for pivoting with us, and truly appreciative of the depth of conversation we still were able to hold in a virtual setting. While we always prefer getting to meet and connect with folks in person; the two ZOOM sessions were very riveting conversations, and we appreciate everyone for sharing openly, and bringing critical ideas and solutions to the table. We hope to reschedule in-person sessions in both South East and South West Edmonton, when safe to do so.

    We are also grateful to the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women Firekeeper Program for hosting us in early November. We were honoured and grateful to meet some powerful women, who shared their experiences and incredible solutions for us moving forward.

    We have had many informative meetings over ZOOM this month with community members, both representing various organizations, but also grassroots community leaders and innovators who were not associated to organizations. We look forward to working with folks to host sessions, partner on new initiatives, and continue to work on collectively effecting change together. Please note that you do not have to be associated to an organization to host a meeting with us; we are happy to work with groups of families, friends, classes, etc.

    What We Are Hearing: Themes from our Sessions

    1. Humanization- Participants expressed the need to engage with EPS in a positive manner; opportunities to humanize one another. There was a recurring emphasis on the importance for positive engagement with youth.
    2. Systems involvement and interconnection - Police interactions are intertwined with Child Welfare involvement as youth; negative perceptions/fear of police can stem from this
    3. Professionalism- Experiences with police officers where people felt mistreated or officers displayed a lack of kindness/professionalism.
    4. System Navigation – Participants shared difficulty in navigating the system or knowing how to get in touch with the proper EPS resources.
    5. Fear- Fear of calling police due to past criminal involvement, or fear of being breached. In addition, for newcomers to Canada, negative experiences with police in home countries leads to a fear of police locally. This fear is reinforced when officers respond unprofessionally/aggressively in interactions.
    6. Public Education – There is a lack of public awareness/education on various EPS initiatives; participants expressed a desire to hear more about EPS programs and initiatives more often.

    What We are Doing

    Over the course of the next few months, in addition to sharing solutions we are working on implementing, we also want to share work we have underway that may be related to suggestions solutions. For example, a solution we have heard from various listening sessions and the ideas page, is that we should be engaging with newcomers to provide education and information on the role of police in Canada. We are happy to share that we currently partner with various newcomer serving agencies in the community to provide presentations on the role of police in Canada. We are working on sharing more information on this in the near future. As we have repeatedly heard the importance of this, we will also explore if/how we could expand on this moving forward.

    Practicum for Recruits: Last month, we shared that we are working on implementing the idea of a practicum placement for new recruits. This is a fantastic idea, and we continue to work through the logistics. We have put together a template for our Recruit Training Section and shared it with some community agencies for their feedback. Planning is well underway for this to be launched in 2021 Recruit Training Classes.

    Knowledge on Rights and Responsibilities- Public Awareness Campaign: Our Corporate Communications Section is working to launch a public education campaign on rights and responsibilities for early 2021. Have ideas on what specifically you hope to learn more on pertaining to rights/responsibilities? Please share in the ideas section of this website!

    Supporting folks exiting gangs- Through one of our sessions, we learned that police officers offering their support can be appreciated and helpful to those folks involved with gangs and looking to exit. Individuals provided advice for officers that has since been incorporated into Recruit Training Curriculum.

    Peer Intervention Training- Through listening sessions underway, as well as through the City Council public hearings in the summer, we learned the importance of equipping our officers with the knowledge and skills to intervene in the event they are witnessing behaviour that is not condoned by the EPS. As such, we have introduced brand new Peer Intervention training. The concept of peer intervention is one that focuses on members taking on the characteristics of Active Bystandership which would enable them to intervene and stop other members from potentially making a mistake during an event in which they were emotionally and physically invested in. The training is currently underway for new recruits, with plans being made to expand it within the service.

    Bias Awareness- While our organization has been delivering Bias Awareness Training to recruits since 2012, we have built a new and revised module that will be available via e-learning to all employees. This module, as well as others within the community policing module of training, are being shared with partners prior to their implementation to ensure we have not missed any important information or perspectives. We will continue to expand our Bias Awareness and Anti-Racism training throughout the organization throughout 2021. Other training currently included in the “Community Policing Module” covers topics such as:

    • Indigenous Historic Trauma
    • LGBTQ2S+ Awareness
    • Power and Privilege
    • Police Legitimacy and Procedural Justice
    • Victim Offender Overlap
    • Trauma Informed Policing and ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences)
    • Community Conversations
    • Police Impact on Historical Trauma, Emerging Communities, and Cultural Safety

    Other updates:

    Please find the below links to other news releases pertaining to updates from EPS that we think you may find interesting!

    EPS new Community Safety and Well-being Bureau: https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/CSWB

    DIVERSIONfirst Program: https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/News/MediaReleases/DIVERSIONfirstNov26

    HUOS (Heavy Users of Service): https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/News/MediaReleases/huosaward

  • October 21 Update

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    21 Oct 2020
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    Listening Sessions and Community Meetings

    On October 6th, we held our first EPS Hosted Listening Session with Chief McFee at Alberta Avenue Hall. We want to sincerely thank the folks who came out and were willing to share their stories, experiences, and ideas for solutions and change with us. We want to honour the stories shared within sessions- so when we provide updates on sessions, we will not ever share the personal stories we heard, we will only share the themes and solutions discussed. Some of the themes we heard October 6th were:

    • Different folks had very different experiences; we heard both very negative and very positive experiences, sometimes from the same individual
    • Gaps in understanding police (role, responsibility, services) are many and varied. They include: language, cultural differences, fear, no previous interaction, lack of communication.
    • Trauma – current and intergenerational trauma, negative experiences with child welfare system and policing that have carried through generations
    • Humanization of us all – community participants and police officers in attendance in some cases shared similar stories, personal circumstances, and experiences. Our humanity connects us.

    There were many solutions and ideas for change that were discussed at the session. All of the suggestions have been posted in the “Ideas” section of our website under the title of “October 6th Session”.

    We have also had a few exciting zoom calls and community meetings that generated new and exciting ideas, and relationships, that we are grateful for and excited to keep building. We have more community based sessions being scheduled over the coming weeks that we will share as we are able, with permission from the organizers.

    Build Bridges Podcast

    Our team is extremely excited for the release of the Building Bridges Podcast. Shortly after the launch of our Commitment to Action, Chief McFee, Enyinnah Okere and Cst. Jacqui Buchanan had the opportunity to be guests on this new and exciting podcast by the Commudio studio. Chief McFee and the team shared some of the changes happening with EPS, and the vision for policing that Chief McFee brought to Edmonton when he accepted the role of Chief in 2019. The podcast is being released as a series of 4 episodes. You can watch/listen here.. Thank you to the team at the Commudio for inviting us to your space, and for the many valuable learnings we have gained through our conversations with you.

    COVID Update

    Effective October 8th, new voluntary public health measures were put in place for Edmonton and surrounding areas due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. We take these measures extremely seriously, and will continue to abide by all mandatory, recommended, and voluntary precautions. As a result of these recent measures, we have reduced the number of participants for our EPS hosted sessions to ensure we remain under the recommendations of holding gatherings with no more than 15 people. We will continue to monitor the situation, and work closely with the EPS Pandemic Response Team to ensure our approach is up to date with evolving restrictions, and safe for all those involved. We will also be exploring the opportunity to host more virtual conversations over the coming months.

  • October 5th Update

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    05 Oct 2020

    Since the launch of our Commitment to Action on September 21, our team has been busy meeting with community members to hear their voices/concerns/ideas, while simultaneously holding internal EPS meeting to share what we’re learning, and look at how we can start implementing solutions, and change. We will be providing regular updates on this website on the work that we are doing beyond the engagement that takes place online. As one of our key principles of engagement is ensuring there are many entry points to engage; we will be transparent and use this space to highlight other things going on beyond the online platform, including significant events and meetings that have taken place. We will also be working to determine what information about EPS community members want to know more about, and use this space to share accordingly.


    What We’ve heard

    Through the various community meetings, a few key themes have already begun to emerge:


    1) Value and Importance of Relationships- This has come up in many forms; from community members knowing the faces and people behind the uniforms and who they can reach out to if they have questions or concerns, to recognizing that traditional “training” (ie. Classroom based) is not always as effective as experiential and relational opportunities for both police and community to humanize one another and counter biases.

    2) Trauma – It has been extremely evident that EPS needs a better understanding of the trauma community members have faced. The trauma officers face has also been a recurring theme that needs to be addressed and understood to ensure they are healthy and well.

    3) Education on Rights with Police- Community members have expressed a need to better understand the role of police officers, and what their rights are when interacting with police officers.


    What we’re doing

    1) Alternative models of Training - We are actively continuing to meet with community groups, our training sections, and areas of patrol to determine what a new model of “training” could look like, that focuses on establishing connection and relationship with community. As we have previously mentioned, this means exploring what practicums with social agencies could look like for recruits; but also what a relationship focussed opportunity with community could look like for members of patrol and other areas of the service that have already completed recruit training.

    In addition to relationship based opportunities, we are also exploring how some of our new curriculum on trauma informed practice can be further embedded and spread throughout the service.

    2) Public Education & Awareness on the Role of Police, and Rights in Police Interactions- The topic of “knowing your rights” has been raised within community/police conversations in both current and past consultation. We recognize that we need to do a better job in ensuring that the public have access to information on their rights when interacting with police officers, and some of the roles and responsibilities of police within their duties. We are working with our Corporate Communications Branch to look at different ways we can ensure this information is publicly accessible and widespread.

  • EPS Dialogue Sessions

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    18 Sep 2020

    EPS has held many dialogue sessions over the years where people have shared their experiences and concerns. In seeking to understand the past, we must acknowledge that we are committed to reflecting and including what we have previously heard, as we continue to listen and create space for voices that we have not yet heard from.

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