Members of Durham Region's Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims community met with DRPS Chief Paul Martin and Deputy Chief Uday Jaswal on Thursday, July 20 at Regional Headquarters to build upon our strong relationship with this growing community.
Engaging with local partners is a goal of the Ismailis group and the visit with the Chief and Deputy was filled with great discussion about working together, learning from each other and building even stronger bridges.
Focusing on public safety, Chief Paul Martin advised additional meetings with the DRPS leadership teams in Pickering and Oshawa, as they represent the frontline officers in the areas where local places of worship are located.
"It would be good for them to understand your community and your presence, if they don't already, and to include them in the broader conversations as far as the brainstorming going forward with what we're going to do,"Chief Martin noted.
One issue raised was how to reach women within the Ismailis community, specifically around their knowledge of safety and support services. Deputy Jaswal outlined all of the DRP partners in the community that are positioned to support women.
The Ismailis group felt having speakers present at one of their places of worship would be an effective solution and a great way to inform their community members. They also said many of their youth have a fear of the police and they would like to shift that perspective by introducing more engagement with the police. When youth gain confidence within the system and have a better understanding, the community as a whole will improve.
Acknowledging that youth are the future, Chief Martin said they want to reach out to them as soon as possible to begin making those connections.
"As they're forming their opinions on the world around them, it's nice to be able to make that connection and allow them to make an informed decision about what they think about the police, and what they think about the broader community of Durham Region so it's definitely helpful," he said.
Chief Martin explained other services the DRP has both within the organization and for the public that focuses on and brings a deeper understanding toward diversity, equity and inclusion, including the Community Safety Branch and on a divisional level the Community Response Units that incorporate school liaisons and school resource officers. The Diversity Advisory Committee acts as an open line of communication between the police chief and different communities across Durham Region, encouraging both a proactive approach and group participation.
The DRPS 2017 Diversity Strategic Plan outlines the direction for the organization and dives into a number of different topics, such as bringing all of the communities together, public outreach and improving competence to understand the different communities that make up Durham Region better.
"To truly understand community you can have diversity competence and we can understand and be open to what's happening within our community and the different people that make up our communities, but it's just that much better to have members of those communities within our organization," Chief Martin stated.
The chief encouraged the delegation to read the strategic plan to determine where collaboration can happen and how the DRP can help the Aga Khan community, specifically to strengthen public safety. To read more about the Diversity and Inclusivity Plan, visit www.drps.ca.
"As much as any time in our history, this is the time we have to have open communication and talk to each other," Chief Martin said.
DRP Leaders With Ismaili Delegation (JPG file, 352.5K bytes)
Ismaili Group Presents Chief Martin With Necktie (JPG file, 1,039.2K bytes)
Discussing Diversity & Inclusion (JPG file, 943.6K bytes)