Police union magazine article denying systemic racism shows more officer buy-in needed: Police commission chair

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“As we all know, this plan calls for and requires a really transformational culture change,” police commission chair Bonita Croft said during the commission’s Tuesday meeting. “But we have certainly seen from the latest 10-4 magazine article how some members have not yet embraced this agenda of cultural change.”

Neufeld told Croft the magazine article shows that members of CPS are at “different places on the continuum” when it comes to anti-racism action. He said the force needs to meet people where they are.

“It’s not just one person, I wouldn’t suggest that for a second. But it does not represent everyone’s opinion, we know that as well,” he said. “We’ve got people at both ends of the spectrum and we’ve got a bunch of curious people in the middle, and that’s where we’re working most diligently right now.”

Mark Neufeld, Calgary Police Chief, speaks to reporters after a day of discussion at City Hall on future policing budgets in Calgary. Thursday, September 10, 2020. Photo by Brendan Miller/Postmedia

Ward 3 Coun. Jyoti Gondek, who sits on the commission, said she was worried by the idea that CPS might not be fully committed to making systemic changes, but Neufeld said all members of the police executive team are fully on-board with a large-scale culture change.

The goal, Neufeld said, is to work with officers who may be less comfortable with the changes so that everyone can buy in.

“It’s not as though we are saying people are in a continuum and that’s fine. We’re saying people are starting where they start,” he said. “It’s an acknowledgment that this is where we are today and that is OK, but that’s not where we want to be in the future, and we will continue to move in that direction.”

It’s important that CPS engages with all its officers, even those who disagree with proposed changes, said Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas.

“Not everyone may agree with all of the recommendations for reform but that doesn’t mean that they are somehow the enemy or that they don’t have something of value to say,” Farkas said.

“These people are not the problem. They’re here because they want to be part of the solution.”

— With files from Madeline Smith

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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