Montreal police force asks public how it can improve
Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014 11:20AM EDT
Montreal's police department presented its annual report to city hall Tuesday evening, and as part of the annual review the force is asking Montrealers how it can improve.
Fady Dagher, Asst. director of communication, said the force is developing programs to improve how it deals with the city's homeless population and reaching out to minority groups.
"I think it's a long process. You don't try to change the culture [in] one year or two years," said Dagher.
Senior officers say the best way to eliminate problems such as racial profiling are by police officers holding each other accountable.
"I swear to you, more and more police officers are standing up and saying to his partner 'I don't agree with your behaviour,' and that is worse than having a sentence for the tribunal," said Dagher.
Homeless rights advocate Bernard St-Jacques is not so sure those steps are actually effective.
"Two years ago there was a strategic plan against racial and social profiling by the policemen and the municipality," said St-Jacques. "What about the profiling situation?"
The police department say its officers intervene in 140 cases involving mental illness or homelessness each day and the vast majority are handled without incident.
But some interventions can turn deadly, such as February's shooting death of 41-year-old Alain Magloire, a homeless man known to have mental health problems who was shot and killed after smashing windows with a hammer.
Two years ago Didier Berry says he was beaten and strangled by a police officer for firming a friend who he feels was enduring an excessively violent arrest.
He, at least, is willing to give the police force another chance.
"We hope the chief of police will be more open, engaged, into more transparency," said Berry.