NIAGARA Regional Police Deputy Chief Bill Fordy, the former Surrey RCMP chief, on Thursday said, “Racism is wrong and must stop,” but regretted “a pattern of stereotyping all police officers based on the actions of a few.”
Niagara Regional Police Service is the oldest regional police service in Ontario.
Here is Fordy’s full statement that was also sent to The VOICE:
I have watched and listened to the general public. I would now like to add my voice to the narrative because I am disappointed and saddened by the tragedies of the past few months, the resulting media coverage, and the feelings of some towards the police. I have witnessed disrespect to police officers across the country.
In the spirit of full transparency, I am a father, a husband, and I have proudly been a police officer for 31 years. I love our country, fully respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and I wholeheartedly support the enshrining of all Canadians having the right and ability to express their thoughts or feelings. I have worked alongside some of the finest people in this country, at times on matters relating to the deaths of some of our most vulnerable citizens, oftentimes by persons that were filled with hate. On the other hand, I have witnessed incredible acts of kindness by the people that we serve. I am respectfully requesting that you consider the fact that police officers don’t get called because something good has happened. In fact, police officers typically respond because someone has been hurt, someone has had something taken from them, or someone is reaching out for help, often on the worst day of their life. Very recently, our communities were publically acknowledging and celebrating all first responders, inclusive of police officers, who were risking the health of themselves and their loved ones in order to serve communities across the country.
Racism is wrong and must stop.
Unfortunately, I see a pattern of stereotyping all police officers based on the actions of a few. Make no mistake, I, like other police officers and leaders, want accountability for any police officer that takes their responsibilities for granted and works outside the boundaries of the law. Having said that, we should respect the process for coming to that determination. We are human and we are not perfect, but the majority of police officers are authentic and kind-hearted people that want to make the world a better place. Even in these challenging times, and despite the current pressures, we have remained dedicated to duty; keeping our communities safe.
Yes, there are certainly things that we can do better and we, the police, should be looking inward to focus on how we can continue to work towards abolishing the presence of racism and mitigating biases and prejudices, and all police services must be accountable for the spending of public monies. In addition, we must be open to change and recognize that crisis can help drive positive change, but we all need to be thoughtful and compassionate in navigating the path forward. Decisions must be evidence-based, not coming from a place of emotion. You, the people we serve, deserve nothing less.
(Bill Fordy also served as the RCMP Assistant Commissioner overseeing all operational and administrative matters of policing in the Lower Mainland District (LMD) of British Columbia and five Integrated Units.)