October 5th Update
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.