Recap: Blue Line Expo 2021
November 29, 2021 By Brittani Schroeder
Canadian law enforcement experts come together to discuss hot topics and discover new products in today’s industry
On Oct. 28, Blue Line welcomed back attendees in-person for Blue Line Expo 2021 at the Paramount EventSpace in Vaughan, Ont.
Over 40 vendors set up shop to show off the latest in technology, services and products from the law enforcement, corrections and security industries. This included police pistols, first responder chest compression systems, law enforcement vehicles, tactical gear, body worn cameras, duty belts and duty book covers, drones, surveillance systems and so much more.
On the conference side of things, visitors attended three sessions on some of the industry’s hottest topics: conspiracy theories, enhanced interoperability and cross agency communications, and community policing.
Blue Line’s conspiracy theories session was led by Dr. Peter Collins, a forensic psychiatrist with the Ontario Provincial Police. The session covered everything from ‘what makes a conspiracy theory?’, to the ‘psychology of conspiratorial believing’ and the different types of bias, including proportionality bias, attribution bias, and confirmation bias. During his session, Collins explained, “Individuals who are vulnerable to one conspiracy theory are significantly more likely to believe in other related, adjacent, or overlapping theories.”
Enhanced interoperability and cross agency communications
Michael Akpata, a 20-plus year veteran of the Windsor Police Service and now the applied solutions manager at Mutualink, posed an important question during his session on enhanced interoperability and cross agency communications: “Are you prepared for those dark days when infrastructure fails, with multiple agencies responding to a single service call?” The more agencies and support entities that can be brought into direct communication the better the situational awareness of the leadership cadre.
The final session of the day focused on community policing and was presented by Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah and Deputy Chief Anthony Odoardi. Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) is a shared responsibility between the community and the police. However, community policing requires the advancement of collaborative partnerships and innovative approaches to meet the demands of today’s challenging environment. As Chief Duraiappah said, “We are continually training our officers to give them the skills to properly engage with the community. If we’re not good on the inside, how can we be good on the outside?”
Blue Line 2021 awards ceremony
During the event, Blue Line recognized two officers: the winners of the 2021 Rookie of the Year award, and 2021 Lifetime in Law Enforcement Achievement award.
The Rookie of the Year award recognizes and encourages a standard of excellence that exemplifies “leadership as an activity, not a position” and pride in service to the public. Its goal is to highlight promising new officers who are effectively paving the way for the future of policing in Canada, and are making positive waves among their peers, agencies, communities and beyond.
This year’s Rookie of the Year winner is Constable Chris Birkett of the Vancouver Police Department. Though Birkett has only been an officer for roughly three years, he has already broken down barriers, proven his dedication and commitment, and exceeded all expectations. No matter where his career may take him, Birkett’s goal remains the same: to make a positive difference. If you ask his colleagues, they’d tell you he already has.
The second award of the day was the Lifetime Law Enforcement Achievement Award. Now in its fourth year, this award seeks to recognize a leader in law enforcement who has made a difference in their communities through exceptional leadership, dedication and compassion. It is open to all law enforcement officers who are below the rank of senior official, and who have over 15 years of experience.
This year’s Lifetime in Law Enforcement Achievement Award winner is Sergeant Kelly Prebble of the Waterloo Regional Police Service. Throughout her 29-year career, Prebble’s focus has remained on fostering positive community relationships. She’s served as a constable, community resource officer, detective, service recruiter, detective sergeant and field supervisor. Sgt. Prebble has dedicated her life to community relations through her police work. Having led an exemplary career, she is being recognized for her unending commitment and passion for her work.
Editor’s Note: A special thank you to all our attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and presenters at this year’s conference and expo. Remember to check out the hashtag #BlueLineExpo for more photos of the event. We can’t wait to see you again for our Blue Line Expo in October 2022!
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