I recently had the privilege of attending the Canadian Association of Police Governance annual conference in Ottawa. The CAPG is a national organization that aims to enhance civilian governance of policing in Canada, and to act as a resource and voice across the country.
Four resolutions were passed at the annual general meeting, asking the federal government to support initiatives that directly impact public safety in Canada:
- a study on technology and its use in criminal acts.
- identification and approval of a roadside drug screening device that will enhance the investigation and prosecution impaired driving.
- developing standardized performance measures for police services and related data requirements for cross-jurisdictional comparisons.
- the restoration of funding that will permit the Canadian Bomb Data Centre to continue to enhance the ability of municipal police services to prevent crime.
The conference also included sessions on ethics in policing and the role of governance, body worn cameras, a race-based data collection project developed by York University and Ottawa Police Service, and a session on reforming policing in Ontario – focusing on community safety and well-being plans. Each of these topics were relevant to policing in all provinces.
The conference gave representatives from different boards and commissions across Canada an opportunity to talk about issues that are shared amongst jurisdictions of similar size. Commissioners from Edmonton met with peers from Halifax, Calgary, Toronto, Winnipeg and many other communities and learned from each other by discussing common concerns and sharing ideas that will benefit us all.
What stood out most for me was the commonality of issues and concerns of citizens across the country including cyber crime, property crime, the impacts of economic downturns on community safety, and how to adequately fund police services in tight budgetary times.
The Conference concluded with an interactive session with Chiefs from across the country, featuring a panel discussion with presidents from the CAPG, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Canadian Police Association. The concerns of participants were wide ranging and the dialogue was frank and excellent. This session represented an exciting beginning to ongoing conversation and collaboration between the associations.