A meeting held over the weekend between the Aboriginal Affairs Coalition of Saskatchewan (AACS) and chief of the Saskatoon Police Service, Clive Weighill, about racial profiling yielded positive results says AACS president, Kim Beaudin.
“This was an opportunity for aboriginal people to have a one-on-one with the chief of police,” said Beaudin. “That kind of forum is very important for the relationship so we’re going to continue to do that.”
“We believe it’s an excellent time for him to address any concerns and to hear from the community,” he said. “Communication is a two way street.”
Beaudin also said the meeting was an opportunity for those who were intimidated by the SPS to communicate with them in an environment outside of a meeting on the street.
“If any issues come up, he’ll be hearing about it front and centre, because most of the people who come to the meetings are people who live in the community—they’re grassroots people and a lot of them have stated that they felt uncomfortable talking to the police—and this gave them that venue to do that.”
There were a few people on hand to tell their stories of racial profiling, but the majority of discussion focused on social issues said Weighill.
“There was quite a wide variety in the discussion,” said Weighill.“It provided me an opportunity to provide information on the progress being made regarding aboriginal relations and also to explain the complaint system if anyone has a complaint against our service.”
He continued, “It’s good for people to air their concerns.”
“Whenever you can sit down and talk issues over an open discussion as it was (Saturday), it’s always very helpful.”
Both Beaudin and Weighill said that the end message taken away from the meeting by those in attendance was that the SPS is willing to hear complaints from the aboriginal community. Beaudin said the AACS will bring those concerns forward as they arise.
“Our organization will provide that bridge to the Saskatoon Police Service,” said Beaudin.