Edmonton police chief enlists advocates to help end racism in the ranks

The chief of the Edmonton police says he’s working with Indigenous and minority advocates to create an action plan to end racism within the ranks of the service.

“We have all heard the call to change, and it requires us to face uncomfortable truths and difficult but necessary moments,” said Dale McFee. “Our commitment to action outlines and addresses a significant amount of work we need to do to establish trust, and repair critical, important relationships.”

Edmonton police
Edmonton police chief at a news conference announcing advisory board. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN

McFee said he’s heard their stories about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the high rate of incarceration of Indigenous Peoples and an advisory committee is he best way to solve issues.

“Through this engagement, we are looking to hear it all; the stories we’ve helped, the stories we’ve caused harm, things you think we need to change, processes we need to introduce,” said McFee.

“The programs we need to start – we are going to take it all in.

Edmonton police
Stephanie Harpe, left, Shandoa Vivian-Bigstone and Kari Thomason at the announcement Monday. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN.

Kari Thomason is a community advocate and says she’s hopeful positive change can take place.

“We had two chiefs that did a lot of lip service and there was absolutely no action taken,” she said. “We have a chief that has actually stepped up to the plate. He’s taking accountability and making the service accountable. We never had that before.”

Stephanie Harpe from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, says McFee being Metis means he understands the conflicts police have had with Indigenous Peoples.

“This is the first time, I actually encountered someone and actually believed something could be created here. This is the first time. And that is a glimmer of hope,” she said.

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