Calgary police say they’re ‘listening and learning’

Calgary Police Services say their 'committed to listening and working with our community.'

Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld. Media Library

Chief Constable Mark Neufeld of the Calgary Police said the ‘police service is listening’.

Over the past two weeks, Calgarians have taken to the streets to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

As the protests continue across the city and country, people are asking that police are held accountable for their involvement on the issues.

Today Chief Neufeld said the protests are shining a light on conversations that need to be had.

“While the events that started these protests are heartbreaking, the conversations that are occurring since that time are actually really good,” said Neufeld.

“Let me be clear, CPS does not tolerate racism. Let me be clear, CPS does not tolerate police brutality. We do not tolerate the intentional use of force that is excessive in violation of the law or policies,” said Neufeld.

People want to see real change

Calgary Police Services released a statement saying they have training in place to ensure officers are equipped to handle the “sensitive to the diverse needs of Calgarians.”

Neufeld addressed the concerns of the public, saying that more needs to be done to ensure everyone in the community is supported.

Racism isn’t the only concern on people’s minds right now. Police brutality is a major factor in the current fight.

Some people have been calling to ‘de-fund’ the police, redirecting funding for social programs that address root causes. Also to demilitarize police forces.

Others however, just want to know that something is being done and that police are listening and working harder.

According to the CPS, officers are required to attend 30 hours of training and testing to improve de-escalation techniques.

Deputy Chief Raj Gill said that they plan to increase training for officers.

“This year we are expanding the mandatory annual retraining to further enhance our de-escalation techniques and full range of control tactics,” said Gill.

“We recognize that there’s still work to be done. We still make mistakes, but we are committed to learning from our mistakes.”

Body cams, diversity team

Many people are asking that police be required to wear body-cam equipment to ensure any escalations between police and civilians are caught on camera.

Deputy Chief Katie McLellan said that every police officer is required to wear a body-cam. They’ve been required since 2009.

“The object of the body worn cameras, is to provide an unbiased and unchanging view of the quality of interactions our officers have with citizens through the course of their duties,” said McLellan.

The Calgary Police said they’re committed to the community and have programs in place to help diverse groups.

Acting Deputy Chief Cliff O’Brien, said hate crime teams and diversity teams are continuously working with volunteers to steer positive and educational conversations.

“We recognize that we have differences here in Calgary. Frankly, we embrace those differences and our diversity team works to build and enhance relationships,” said O’Brien.

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