Ottawa Police Racial Profiling Policy
The Ottawa Police Service has published a Racial Profiling Policy. If one takes the time to read it, you would see that it’s not an earth shattering policy announcement but more a guideline of common sense. It is also not a knee jerk reaction to the recent spate of allegations of police misconduct. In fact, it is the result of an on-going process that started more than a year ago.
Remember the famous November 2010 racial diversity discussions that deteriorated into a screaming match about Stacy Bonds? Well, that meeting was initially intended to be a public consultation meeting in writing this now released policy. I also understand there will be a review of this policy, again with public consultation, in November of this year.
So why am I writing about this? It is because in recent months, many charges have been falsely made that some police actions were about racial profiling or racially motivated discrimination. I have always contended that they were not, contrary to many in the public. But now there is a publicly available set of guidelines that people can use to justify how they view a police action.
What I like about this policy is that it was not just quickly cobbled together. It was worked on by many different stakeholders and is a well balanced and easy to understand policy. It also underscores the police’s right to do real police work. It’s interesting to note that the Jordan Noel and Loik St-Louis market stopping and arrest would still have occurred and been perfectly justified under this policy– as it should have been.
So, can we now turn the page on this matter? For some, probably not but for most I hope we can.