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'Open dialogue': Police board discusses inclusivity, diversity

Equity, diversity and inclusion committee formed three years ago and now includes 15 members

The Barrie Police Services Board met recently and received an update on the equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) committee, which was started three years ago.

The committee was formed in 2019 to foster diversity and inclusivity between members of the local police department and the community. 

Viktoria Tumilowicz, who is a business planner and analyst with Barrie police, spoke at Thursday afternoon's board meeting about the EDI and the work it has been doing.

Tumilowicz said that in the last year, the group has been committed to three priorities, which include Barrie police member knowledge of the committee, community engagement, as well as outreach and accountability.

For membership knowledge, a 30-day survey was conducted in January to February, where it was determined that members believed the committee was important, as was having a greater awareness on global and cultural issues, confronting bias and awareness on mutli-etchic and multicultural issues. 

Because of the committee's work, over the last year there has been additional EDI resources brought in to assist members, including videos, support in diversification recruitment programs, including a Women In Policing Symposium held in October. 

As for accountability, since the committee's inception there have been monthly EDI meetings, annual updates to the Barrie police leadership team and assisting in police policy to ensure language and procedure is respectful and inclusive.

The EDI committee currently has 15 members, but Tumilowicz said she expects that number to grow as increased communication continues. 

“There is open dialogue happening. I think there is a piece of approachability that is coming out through the communications that are being posted for various events and initiatives that are created,” Tumilowicz said.

In the chief’s report, it was noted that in the month of October there were 6,217 calls for service, with the top three being 1,957 hang-ups, 453 needing police assistance and 407 regarding vehicle collisions. 

The full recent meeting can be viewed by clicking here.

The next Barrie Police Services Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 15.