The Urban Alliance on Race Relations is pleased to learn that the Toronto Police Services Board has launched a series of consultations to determine the qualities the public and Toronto Police Service personnel are looking for in a new Chief of Police.
As the Board implements this process we are embolden by the City’s motto “Diversity Our Strength”. We are encouraged by the precedent that was established when a successful community consultation process was conducted before the current Chief was confirmed.
On June 23rd and June 24th, 2000; the Urban Alliance on Race Relations along with the Queen Street Patients Council (now called Empowerment Council) organized a conference detailing 27 practical recommendations to address alternative measures to the use of lethal force by the Police. These recommendations were intended to foster an element of trust with communities and the Police. The conference was aptly called: “Saving Lives: Alternatives to the Use of Lethal Force by Police”.
Sponsored by the Toronto Police Service and the Toronto Police Services Board, along with many community-based organizations, including the Aboriginal Legal Services, the Black Action Defence Committee, and the Chinese Canadian National Council-Toronto Chapter; the conference was specifically designed to bring together diverse communities and the police in a cohesive dialogue. The primary goal was to preventing further deaths.
Fast-forward to the present and we are still anxiously discussing how to address shooting deaths at the hands of the Police; most recently Sammy Yatim. To us it seems as if none of the 27 recommendations from the 2000 conference have been implemented.
In deciding who the next Chief of Police will be, we urge the Board to select a Chief who is knowledgeable on social justice and inclusion issues, respects the City’s motto of “Diversity Our Strength” and have a demonstrated record of successful engagement with Toronto’s diverse communities. As well, UARR strongly urges that the Board involve the community in a meaningful, active and manner in the process of selecting the next Chief of Police.