Chief Paul Martin and his leadership team met with members of Durham's diverse community in Pickering on Oct. 8th at the 1st "Speak Up Durham" Diversity Open House.
About 75 citizens attended and asked the Chief a variety of questions regarding DRP's recruitment efforts, the current makeup of the police service, the diversity of senior ranks, current street check policies and future plans to become more reflective of the community.
Chief Martin outlined all of the efforts DRPS has undertaken to attract more candidates from Durham's growing multicultural communities, however, he stressed there was still much work to be done.
He said the Service has invested a lot of time and effort, going to high schools universities and colleges on recruiting campaigns, targeted specific diverse communities and female candidates, but with mixed results. One of the keys to success is building up strong candidate pools, but with a hiring freeze for the past six years, those pools need to be replenished.
Although the two most recent recruit classes were amongst the most diverse ever hired by the DRP, the Service is below where it wants to be in terms of diversity. The long range goal of the Service is to more closely reflect the community it serves, however, most police services fall short of that mark.
Roger Anderson, Chair of the DRP Services Board, brought opening remarks and encouraged everyone to share their views openly on policing. He said the key to a successful police service is trust.
"It will take a sustained commitment to diversity and inclusion to build and maintain public trust in the police," he said. "Trust is the foundation for professional, accountable and effective policing. We cannot succeed without it."
The two-hour session was moderated by Ajax resident Dave Mitchell, a member of the Chief's Diversity Advisory Committee, which organized the event. Co-chair of the committee, Shashi Bhatia also spoke and said effective policing requires a strong partnership between the service and the people it serves.
Chief Martin pledged to partner with an academic institution to independently analyze the Service's relevant records management files to try and determine the nature of stops that have occurred in Durham Region. He said an analysis is needed to truthfully understand the extent of the problem in Durham Region. He also pledged to support any new regulations on street checks introduced by the province.
Chief Martin Chats with Citizens (JPG file, 382.1K bytes)
Deputy Chief Chris Fernandes Talks with Citizens at the Open House (JPG file, 260.8K bytes)
Insp. Jamie Grant Talks with DAC Co-Chair Shashi Bhatia (JPG file, 278.9K bytes)
Members of the Public Asked Questions at the Open House (JPG file, 307.0K bytes)