Independent civilian review provides new public-police relationship framework
By Blue Line Staff
By Blue Line Staff
May 17, 2021 – On April 9, the Gloria J. Epstein, a supernumerary judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, submitted her report of the Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations, Missing and Missed. This included a review, analysis, and 151 recommendations.
Some services, including Toronto Police Service (TPS) has committed to implementing all the recommendations and, as the report points out, are already made some positive changes.
Serving with Pride (SWP), a provincial not-for-profit organization of 2SLGBTQ+ police and law enforcement, said they applaud the commitment by TPS and the Toronto Police Association, and “strongly encourage them to include 2SLGBTQ+ and marginalized TPS employees, in addition to civilians, as members of all consultative or implementation committees that have or will be formed”.
“Serving with Pride is acutely concerned, as well not surprised, with the findings related to the policies and practices that were exposed as discriminatory and the divested care by TPS of the 2SLGBTQ+ and other vulnerable communities and individuals, including police personnel, that was found to be prevalent,” said Jean Turner, SWP spokesperson. “We are confident that the same systemic discrimination against the 2SLGBTQ+ and other marginalized and vulnerable groups, would be uncovered at any given police service across this country if there were to be the same thorough review.”
While the report is focused on Missing Person cases in Toronto, they are also encouraging all Canadian police services to review their own policies and practices for such cases and make the necessary changes required to prevent the same disservice and disgrace that occurred here.
“Missing and Missed is a gift that provides every police service with many realistic recommendations they can deploy to rebuild their relationship with those communities that do not trust police or do not feel protected by policing services,” said the SWP in a press release. “SWP strongly encourages all Canadian services and associations to read all four volumes of the report to learn, and most importantly, to make real change for equity, diversity, and inclusion.”