Black Advisory Committee attempting to bridge gap
Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans has acknowledged the concerns raised during community consultations with respect to the” lived experiences of individuals feeling targeted because of their race”, a Peel Police statement said.
“After listening to the concerns of community members throughout the Region, Chief Evans sought direct change that would influence these very important relationships and is engaging leaders – recognizing there is work to be done to enhance the relationship between the police and the black community,” the statement said.
Community leaders from all aspects of the black community within the Region of Peel have agreed to participate on a committee to bridge the gap. These leaders are from organizations such as, United Achievers, Free For All Foundation, School Board Trustees, Congress of Black Women, Malton Black Development Association, BCAN (Black Community Action Network), RESQ Youth International and the United Way. The committee’s goal is to understand complex difficulties between the police and members of the black community and seek positive solutions.
On June 10th, 2015 the Peel Regional Police Black Advisory Committee met and discussed the concerns and issues between the police and the black community. Since then, the committee has met quarterly with efforts focused on collaborative ideas to strengthen trust between the black community and the police.
“Through the Committee, open dialogue is the norm and difficult conversations are challenging us to come up with creative solutions. Following recommendations from the committee the Recruiting Bureau hosted two recruiting events and the Black Advisory Committee invited police to participate in events such as the Free For All Basketball Awards Night and Community Basketball camps, the United Achievers Dinner as well as participating in the SWAG (Success With Age and Guidance) graduation. These interactions intended to bring community members and the police together have proven to be very successful but more work still has to be done”, the statement said.
Chief Evans confirmed on Tuesday that she welcomed the equity audit and publicly acknowledged this at her presentation to regional council on June 23rd. “She is committed to working with the Police Services Board and looks forward to any recommendations flowing from this equity audit. She hopes that this will also highlight the ongoing initiatives already implemented by Peel Regional Police”.
The Black Advisory Committee has evolved through open and effective dialogue and the community leaders are truly engaged and committed to working together with the police to address the deeply rooted issues to find solutions that matter and enhance relationships. Chief Evans stated “I recognize that there is much work to be done and am encouraged by the dedicated community leaders who are engaged with me to make a difference.” – CINEWS