Police and Calgary Pride meet, then commit to mutual co-operation More from Annalise Klingbeil, Calgary Herald Published on: August 25, 2017 | Last Updated: August 25, 2017 5:07 PM MDT Last month, parade organizers in Calgary told police officers they were not welcome to march in uniform. The Canadian Press A controversial decision to shun uniformed officers from Calgary’s upcoming Pride parade, which disappointed the city’s police chief and mayor, has spurred a meaningful conversation and commitment to future co-operation. Last month, parade organizers in Calgary told police officers they were not welcome to march in the September parade in uniform, a new policy that acknowledges “the historical oppression and institutionalized racism faced by queer/trans people of colour and Indigenous persons, and the potentially negative association with weapons, uniforms, and other symbols of law enforcement.” After the ban was both publicized and criticized, the mayor’s office organized a meeting with the police chief and representatives of Calgary Pride, the police’s gender and sexually diverse advisory committee, the Calgary police commission and members of the LGBTQ community. “The intention of this meeting was to develop a better understanding of the legitimate issues and concerns raised by members of the LGBTQ community about how CPS works with their community,” participants said in a joint statement released Friday, the launch of the 11-day Pride festival. “The outcome of the meeting was a commitment by the participants to work together over the next year to address those issues and concerns.” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in a statement an open dialogue is crucial and he’s encouraged that Calgary Pride, police, the Calgary police commission and the mayor’s office are “committed to building on this relationship to better serve all Calgarians.” “These conversations are not always easy,” Nenshi said in the statement. “But they are incredibly important.” Jason Kingsley, president and executive producer of Calgary Pride, said in a statement he was pleased the group had a chance to continue discussions about creating solutions to better the relationship with all members of Calgary’s gender and sexually diverse community. “There is clearly a desire on all sides to work together and find ways to develop the relationship between all segments of the GSD (gender and sexually diverse) community, and we’re proud to be a part of a long term, positive outcome for everyone,” Kingsley said. Police Chief Roger Chaffin said officers and volunteers on the force’s Sexuality and Gender Diversity Chief’s Advisory Board work daily to build relationships with Calgary’s diverse communities and openly discuss concerns raised by anyone who feels marginalized. “We want Calgary to be a place where all people feel safe, especially when it comes to interacting with police officers. We look forward to ongoing conversations with those in Calgary’s LGBTQ+ community that have concerns so we can find ways to improve our relationship and address their concerns,” Chaffin said in a statement. The 27th annual Calgary Pride parade is scheduled for Sept. 3.
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