Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Police to improve community relationships

Chief Clunis looks at adding diversity officers to ranks

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The city's new police chief believes expanding the Winnipeg Police Service community relations unit will pave the way for better crime prevention.

Speaking to about 300 people Thursday at a Manitoba Criminal Justice Association breakfast, Chief Devon Clunis said he wants police to focus on "crime prevention through social development."

And he wants to make a "concerted effort in making a meaningful difference" in the aboriginal and newcomer communities.

Right now, there are three officers who work in the community relations unit (CRU). But Winnipeg's top cop has already assigned a staff sergeant to assess the unit's changing needs.

Clunis said he'd look specifically at adding diversity officers to the CRU to work with different communities.

"Something that we need to realize in our city, the demographics of the City of Winnipeg are changing, and whether we realize it right now or not, the economic viability, the future success of our city, rests on the success of every segment of the population," said Clunis.

"We need to understand that one model of policing right across the board will not fit every community and we need to take new initiatives in terms of reaching into these communities."

With new Canadians, for example, there can be a huge disconnect in terms of their relationship with police, he said.

"Many of these individuals are coming from areas in the world where relationships with police are non-existent."

Clunis told the crowd he wants Winnipeg to be known as the "safest city" in Canada, not the nation's crime capital.

He told the audience about growing up in Jamaica and moving to Canada, and how he became a police officer because he wanted to be a role model.

"I think you need to set high goals for yourself," he said during an interview after the speech.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2013 A7

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