Metro Vancouver Transit Police is deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd and have been listening closely to the grief and dialogue prompted by the disturbing circumstances that led to his death. We believe that the officers involved must be held accountable, knowing that no police agency would tolerate such racism in their ranks.
Sadly, Canada is not immune to racism; our history has too many examples of racist policies that have entrenched systemic inequality throughout our society. We know that racism continues to have major and detrimental impacts on the community we serve. As a police agency, we must continue to educate ourselves on issues of systemic racism in order to ensure we meet our duty to protect all the people of our community, and do so with empathy, compassion and a constant willingness to listen to calls for change.
As the police agency for the transit system in Metro Vancouver, we serve a community that includes many members who are vulnerable. We are here to serve everyone to the best of our ability and that is not a responsibility we take lightly. Our officers’ training includes ensuring they understand bias, support diversity and can employ de-escalation techniques where necessary. We will continue to improve our training, and adjust our policies and practices to ensure we remain responsive to the community we serve.
We have made many adjustments since our inception in 2005, from moving to a community-based deployment model and creating community engagement teams to launching a texting service that allows passengers to discreetly report if they feel unsafe and increasing our outreach to vulnerable people. Transit Police also receives regular feedback and insights through our Chief’s Community Council. This group acts in an advisory capacity to Transit Police’s Executive Team in order to promote dialogue and collaboration. It consists of representatives from a broad cross section of the transit community.
We recognize we need to do more. Beyond being police officers and support staff, our employees are members of our shared community. We are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who want the community we live in to be free from racism and hate, and built on equity and fairness. We pledge to continue to work with our community partners, listen closely to the dialogue occurring and educate our own officers and staff on how to better serve you. Your letters, your online messages, your texts and your voices are being heard. If you have feedback, we are listening.