Council members hope a private town hall improves communication between the public and police.

On 29/11/2023 0

The event's organizer, Andre Chabot, expressed his hope that it will lead to a "frank and honest discussion" between the public and police on Wednesday.

A recent incident involving a Muslim woman, according to Ward 5 Councilman Raj Dhaliwal, is more proof that police departments require greater diversity among their officers as well as greater cultural and religious sensitivity.

A woman wearing a headscarf was driving her car with her children when she was pulled over and asked to provide a breathalyzer sample, according to Dhaliwal, who emphasized that the incident did not take place inside Calgary city limits and therefore did not involve the Calgary Police Service.

"Cultural and religious sensitivity is lacking there—knowing that alcohol consumption is forbidden in Islam," Dhaliwal stated.

Dhaliwal used that incident as an example to make the case that police departments need to do more to make them more cognizant of ethnic and religious differences.

He hopes that these open discussions will be sparked on Wednesday night during a town hall that is exclusive to representatives of community associations from wards 5, 9, and 10. Ward 10 Councilman Andre Chabot is the organizer of the event, which is being held at the Marlborough Community Center.

"It seems like they trust CPS, but they're uneasy because they think there are institutional barriers, like racism, in their interactions with the police," Dhaliwal stated.

We want to have these conversations in order to begin dispelling some of those myths. Additionally, it's a chance for CPS to speak with these local leaders directly.

In June of last year, Dhaliwal held a town hall like this one to talk about social issues and neighborhood safety.

"People from different parts of the world make up my very diverse ward," he remarked. Sometimes, they arrive preconceived, having come from certain nations where the police are dishonest and serve special interests. For this reason, we require additional police information. This perception needs to change for that reason.

Additionally, according to Dhaliwal, some of his constituents questioned why CPS officers, in October, carried out a high-risk arrest of armed men at a Falconridge strip mall, which resulted in the suspect's shooting death and an officer's wounding.

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Meeting aims to increase transparency between the public and police
The event on Wednesday is being organized by Chabot, who expressed his hope that it will lead to a "frank and honest discussion" between the public and police.

Following a wave of gun violence in the northeast and northwest that CPS officials characterized as having "the hallmarks" of organized crime, the meeting was called for.

Five shootings in as many days were among the early November incidents, which were reported from Marlborough, Abbeydale, MacEwan, Bowness, and Marlborough Park. Rami Hajj Ali was the victim of the Nov. 13 shooting in Marlborough Park.

Chabot, who represents three of the neighborhoods where shootings occurred, stated he wants to provide his constituents with additional information regarding those incidents from CPS.

"Those people have a lot of uncertainty," he remarked. They are unsure of the actions taken by the police. We would like to know what we can share about the events that are taking place to give them a better sense of security.

Although Chabot acknowledged that, as an elected official, he is fairly knowledgeable about local police operations, he said that the public is frequently not as fortunate.

"I believe that CPS has been transparent with me in particular, but I have thoroughly investigated their plans, actions, and monitoring protocols," he remarked.

"In an abundance of caution, I want to make sure the information I share is something I'm allowed to share or that will actually resonate well with the people to give them a better sense of safety and security, as I'm not sure I can actually share all that information with the public."

Without more precise information, Cpl. James McConnell, an RCMP media relations officer for the Airdrie RCMP detachment, stated he was unable to comment on the first incident that Dhaliwal had mentioned.

However, he added that police officers have the right to stop any driver and request a breathalyzer sample, even if there isn't a good reason to believe the driver is intoxicated, thanks to legislation requiring alcohol screening that was passed in 2018.

McConnell stated that the RCMP "values multicultural communities as a whole" and that the agency "has recruiting specific to any minority groups in the communities we police."

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