The candidate of the City of Montreal at the head of the police force, Fady Dagher, appeared Thursday before the selection committee of the City. As Montrealers wait for the new police chief to be confirmed in the position, expectations are already high.
“I love him. I love him. I love him. I wanted him last time and he didn’t get it,” said Dr. Myrna Lashley, a psychologist in the University’s Department of Psychiatry. McGill.
The Red Coalition’s director of public safety and racial profiling, Alain Babineau, was at Dagher’s first press conference on Thursday afternoon.
“Mr. Dagher is the right person for the right position at the right time,” Babineau said.
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This is a time when community leaders are calling for change within the police service, to rebuild trust with different racialized and minority communities.
“You have to break down a lot of things that have been set up. You know, a lot of historical stuff. It’s not going to be easy,” Dr. Lashley said.
Dagher already prioritizes what he knows best for community policing. He says it’s important to be immersed in the field, establish dialogue and mend relationships.
“It’s something very, very symbolic and meaningful, both in terms of image and substance, because you can’t control a city, you can’t control communities that you don’t know,” said said Fo Niemi, Executive Director. for the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations.
Concordia researcher Ted Rutland fears this form of policing could lead to more officers performing community service without proper training.
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“What we need to do is jump on the bandwagon of expanding our understanding of public safety and hiring community workers to do community work, enabling the police to do their jobs,” Rutland said.
Leaders say one of Dagher’s biggest jobs shaping the future of policing is changing the culture within the Montreal force.
“He’s going to have to surround himself with people he trusts, you know, because police departments are very resilient to change,” Babineau said.
While they expect Dagher to draw inspiration from his own heritage and experience, community members say it’s important to give him time as he begins this new role.
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