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Raymond Sheppard: Thoughts on addressing racism at Halifax police

Chief Dan Kinsella

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Dan Kinsella, the Chief of the Halifax Regional Police, must back up the words he offered as an apology to the African Nova Scotian Community.

I believe his action plan, if he has one, must include psychological evaluation of new recruits, and psychological assessment of those who have used and continue to use excessive force/harassment based on race.

The chief should also implement extensive cultural competency training and work to ensure that recruitment and hiring practices are free of racial and ethnic bias. I strongly believe African Nova Scotians must be an integral part of these changes.

Also, there must be programs that ensure equal opportunities for members of the African Nova Scotian community.

Real change can serve to eliminate some of the intentional and unintentional racial bias

There also must be ongoing  diversity and inclusion training that identifies policy and operational  biases and provides tools to deal effectively, and real consequences as well.

The chief and regional council should set up a Special Investigations Unit with at least 10 representatives from the African Nova Scotian Community to proactively investigate complaints of racial bias and racial harassment against individual officers. 

Computer programs should be put in place to effectively track complaints against individual officers. These officer must face real consequences.

The chief of police, the mayor and Regional Council must halt negotiations with the police union until such time that the union stops advocating to keep officers who have committed  racist acts.

All these measures are long overdue, and this would be a meaningful start.

Accountability and proactive measures are key for police to acknowledge that Black Lives Matter.

Raymond Sheppard

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