The changing policing industry
September 21, 2023 By Brittani Schroeder
This year has truly been flying by. I can’t believe summer has already come and gone, and children have already gone back to school. Now, we’re being greeted by crisp autumn mornings and the changing colours of tree leaves. Soon enough, dare I say it, we’ll be seeing snow falling from the sky.
Last month, I was able to attend the 118th Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Summit and Trade Show in Ottawa, and it was wonderful to see familiar faces and make some new friends. There I learned of a few people who were announcing their retirements and met some newly appointed members of police leadership. Even as I created this edition’s Dispatches section, it struck me how much change was occurring in the Canadian policing industry, with police services and their personnel.
A lot has happened this year, and a lot of focus has been paid to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). They were able to mark and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the federal police service in May, but this came shortly after the recommendation for transformative change was announced in March, when the Mass Casualty Commission released their seven-volume report on the Nova Scotia 2020 mass shooting.
Several municipalities across Canada have considered making the change from RCMP services to a municipal police force over the past few years. Surrey started this transition in 2018, and though the city went through a political struggle this spring as Mayor Brenda Locke tried to have the RCMP reinstated as the police of jurisdiction, B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Honourable Mike Farnworth, directed the city to continue its transition to the Surrey Police Service in July.
Their first order of business, after creating the Grande Prairie Police Commission, was to find someone to lead this new police service, and that’s where Dwayne Lakusta comes in.
Now, another Canadian city has started the transition to a municipal police service: Grande Prairie, Alta. This process was started in March 2023, when it was voted in, almost unanimously, by city council. Their first order of business, after creating the Grande Prairie Police Commission, was to find someone to lead this new police service, and that’s where Dwayne Lakusta comes in.
I had the opportunity to speak with Lakusta before he was officially sworn in as chief of police, and I could hear in his voice how excited he was to get started. Through his positions in law enforcement and the Alberta provincial government, he knew of the recruitment challenges police departments are currently facing across the country, and the need to create diverse teams. These were two major focuses during our conversation, along with what he feels will be the most successful way to lead this new police service. You can find the full story on page 10.
And as always, if there is a topic that you think we should be talking about, and that fellow officers could benefit and learn from, please reach out to me at any time (email@example.com).
Until next time, happy reading and be well.
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