City releases 'Safer For All' plan to address racism, discrimination
EDMONTON -- The City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Service have released a joint plan to address racism and hate crimes.
The plan identifies nearly 70 actions aimed at building a safer city for all Edmontonians.
Some of those include increasing training on bias, anti-racism and trauma, as well as the addition of in-car video cameras to police vehicles.
The city’s work plan was sparked by conversations with Edmonton’s Community Safety and Well-Being Task Force, a task force created in the summer of 2020 following public hearings where Edmontnians shared their experience with racism and policing in the city.
“What we have heard from last summer’s public hearings and the community’s safety and wellbeing task force, is that some Edmontonians are in pain,” said Andre Corbould, Edmonton’s city manager.
Along with EPS and Edmonton Police Commission, the city is partnering with the Anti-racism Advisory Committee, and EndPovertyEdmonton to strengthen community safety.
Edmonton has already launched a new anti-racism grant program with $300,000 in funding to support youth and non-profit organizations for anti-racism projects and events.
The city has also launched an Indigenous framework that Corbould says will guide city staff “on their journey of reconciliation and relationship building with Indigenous peoples.”
EPS Chief Dale McFee said the action items listed within the city’s joint plan aim to change the way officers respond to calls by using a collaboration of mental health experts and community partners.
While the city’s work plan to combat racism and hate crimes has been well underway, several instances of assaults targeting Edmonton’s Muslim community influenced action by the city and police.
Noor Al-Henedy, director of communications and public health relations with the Al Rashid Mosque, said she welcomes the plan and is looking forward to seeing more results on the ground.
“Racism is spreading like there’s no tomorrow where people are getting assaulted. We saw in Ontario, we lost four family members to hate and violence,” said Al-Henedy. “So it is no longer a conversation of ‘oh let’s try and do better. We have to do better, we have to take this seriously.”
The city says that ultimately Edmontonians will be the judges of the report. A public dashboard will be developed so the public can see how the report’s actions are implemented.
The plan will be presented to the community and city council on June 30.