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
- 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.
- Systems involvement and interconnection - Police interactions are intertwined with Child Welfare involvement as youth; negative perceptions/fear of police can stem from this
- Professionalism- Experiences with police officers where people felt mistreated or officers displayed a lack of kindness/professionalism.
- System Navigation – Participants shared difficulty in navigating the system or knowing how to get in touch with the proper EPS resources.
- 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.
- 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
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