Chief Paul Martin and his leadership team provided members of Durham Region's diverse community an update on community safety results and ongoing efforts to diversify the police service.
The second annual "Speak Up Durham" Diversity Open House was held Oct. 4th at Regional Headquarters in Whitby and offered citizens a chance to discuss local issues of concern the leaders of the DRPS. The first forum took place in Pickering on Oct. 8, 2015 and 75 citizens attended.
This year, about 40 citizens travelled to the Regional Headquarters and listened to a brief report from the Chief on the successes and challenges over the past year. Many of those in attendance asked the Chief specific questions about the success of recruiting efforts, 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. There are promising signs, however, as the last four recruit classes have been among the most diverse ever.
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 a six-year hiring freeze has had an adverse effect on building up those pools.
Chief Martin re-iterated his pledge from last year's event: that the long range goal of the police service is to more reflective of the community it serves.
Roger Anderson, Chair of the DRP Services Board and Durham Regional Council, brought opening remarks and encouraged everyone to share their views openly on policing. He said the key to a successful police service is trust.
The two-hour session was moderated by Ajax resident Dr. 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 train as many officers as required for the new Street Check regulations that come into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The Province just handed down the training modules, so the internal training efforts will have to take place before the end of the year.
Meeting with Community Member (JPG file, 390.3K bytes)
Chief Martin Speaks to a Participant at the Forum (JPG file, 262.5K bytes)
Deputy Fernandes Meets Members of the Community (JPG file, 268.5K bytes)
S/Sgt. Jeff Haskins Answers Questions (JPG file, 311.7K bytes)
DRPS Recruitment Booth Was Busy at the Forum (JPG file, 267.0K bytes)