The Edmonton Police Service said it will focus on recruiting and training following months of consultation with the LGBTQ community.
As part of its reconciliation efforts, the EPS consulted with members of the LGBTQ community from July to October 2019. The consultations included one-on-one interviews, small group interviews, focus groups, online surveys and social media engagement.
Chief Dale McFee said the EPS received very valuable feedback from the community and its own officers on how the service can do better. The feedback identified several gaps, with recruiting and training being the two main areas of focus.
“This is where our priorities are right now with a number of short-term goals, some of which have already been implemented and are being worked on,” McFee said.
The EPS said it will build on its current inclusivity and bias training by developing a new LGBTQ2S+ Recruit Training Module that will centre around historic trauma, understanding marginalization and connecting with people’s experiences.
The training will be mandatory for both sworn and civilian members of the EPS and include members of the LGBTQ community. The training will be piloted with the next recruit training class, the EPS said in a media release Friday.
The EPS said it will also work with its recruitment unit to build a more specific inclusivity strategy, following feedback that the LGBTQ community would like to see their community better reflected within the police service.
In May 2019, shortly after taking over as the city’s top cop, McFee issued a formal apology on behalf of the entire police force, saying historically, the service has failed the LGBTQ community.
“Our actions caused pain. They eroded trust. They created fear,” McFee said at the time.
“They caused members of the public and our service alike to feel unsafe on their own streets, in their workplaces and even their homes.”
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