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DRPS plan to enhance trust deadline extended

Residents now have until March 23 to provide input for Durham Regional Police Services Board (DRPSB) Action Plan to Enhance Trust and Confidence in Policing in Durham Region.

The earlier deadline of January 26 has been extended as the Special Board Meeting for the purpose has been cancelled.

Throughout 2020, events across North America have led to substantial public dialogue about the effects of systemic racism, and how these effects can be addressed and eliminated. Trust and confidence in policing institutions have been challenged over this period. We have also witnessed a heightened awareness of the importance of a more effective response to mental health calls, including the significance of de-escalation, said a DRPSB statement.

It said the board has profound appreciation for police employees, who place their own safety at risk, to protect the community. Members of the DRPS are respected for their courage, integrity and professionalism.

“We also know that, as an organization, there are always opportunities to refocus and to improve. The board is committed to the change that is necessary to ensure that our Police Service operates as effectively as possible and in the best interests of all citizens. We recognize that the police must have high levels of trust of their community to perform their duties to a high standard, and this trust must continue to be earned, and to be nurtured, and never taken for granted,” said the statement.

It said in order to advance this critical priority, the board has developed a proposed Action Plan to Enhance Trust and Confidence in Policing in Durham Region. The plan outlines a strategy for greater transparency, improved practices and services in the areas of diversity and inclusion, and strengthening the response to mental health calls. A copy of the Plan, as a basis for consultation, is attached.

The board strongly encouraged members of the public to provide their views at one of the regularly scheduled meetings on February 16 and March 23. Those interested in participating in either meeting, may submit an outline of the deputation in writing to alongo@drps.ca. The deadline for submissions is one week before each board meeting.

In the coming weeks, the board, with the assistance of a polling firm, will also be conducting an on-line community survey, a random telephone survey, and a survey of members of the DRPS to receive feedback on the proposed Action Plan. All are encouraged to participate in these opportunities to express experiences and perspectives that will assist the board in finalizing the plan.

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