Race-based police data won’t end systemic issues

Examining use of force by race or counting arrests and charges by colour isn’t about to change police culture

Race-based police data won’t end systemic issuesAfter years of resisting the recording of race-based statistics by police, there has been a sudden change of heart. Now, advocates and those seeking police reform want race-based data collected by police. In Ontario, the authorities hope that by collecting officers’ perceptions of suspects it can expose any racial biases or stereotyping within police services. The…

Forensic anthropologist helps police identify unknown victims

For Pamela Mayne Correia, the most satisfying cases are the ones she helps solve with the scarcest of skeletal remains

Forensic anthropologist helps police identify unknown victimsForensic anthropology requires guts of steel but there was one disturbing case even Pamela Mayne Correia found hard to stomach. The University of Alberta anthropologist was called in to help reconstruct and identify human remains after one of Canada’s worst mass murders, the 1992 bombing of nine replacement workers during a strike-lockout at the Giant gold mine in…

Canada is not a racist country, nor are its institutions

People want to live here because Canada is a welcoming country where all races and creeds live together without persecution

Canada is not a racist country, nor are its institutionsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau recently publicly contradicted RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki for saying there’s no systemic racism within the RCMP. Actually, Lucki said she didn’t know what “systemic racism” is. In her words, “I have to admit, I really struggle with the term ‘systemic racism.’ I have heard about five or 10 definitions on TV.…

The overblown panic of COVID-19

We trampled, in fear, over memory and institutions, obsessively protective and morally dismissive of dignity and human life

The overblown panic of COVID-19The schizophrenic aspects of Canadian culture and their influence on governments’ behaviour are increasingly evident. The most palpable example lies in how we trampled, in fear, over memory and institutions, obsessively protective and morally dismissive of dignity and human life simultaneously. The COVID-19 lockdown has been a strange time for people who are struggling to…

Police failures begin with bad leadership

Policing, despite its facade of altruism and professionalism, remains incredibly insular, self-promoting and conservative

Police failures begin with bad leadershipDespite several decades of celebrating community policing, certain communities have been over-policed, discriminated against and abused by systemic inequalities. The inequalities loudly and persistently decried are proven by the statistical realities of arrest and incarceration rates, and by the video evidence of victims of policing bias. Countries like Canada, Australia, Britain, France and the United…

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policing

Demystifying police work is needed to increase public support for major reforms, argues U of A sociologist

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policingTwo contrasting perspectives have emerged in response to recent calls to “defund” police. One perspective – espoused by some activists on the political left – holds that policing is fatally broken, can’t be fixed through any reforms and ought to be cancelled outright through financial asphyxiation. The second perspective argues that policing takes an outsized…

Bad leadership at the heart of police brutality

There’s no place for cowards, racists, sociopaths or murderers in a police department. And yet such officers are detected with alarming regularity

Bad leadership at the heart of police brutalityThe wave of protests across the United States in response to the death of George Floyd follows a lengthy list of protests against police misconduct. The list of misconduct includes: Rodney King, beaten by police on a freeway after a high-speed chase in Los Angeles (1991); Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant sodomized in a New…

What an Indigenous force can teach us about policing

Adding more weapons, equipment and officers doesn’t provide a straight line to happier and safer communities

What an Indigenous force can teach us about policingPutting more force into our police forces might seem intuitively like a logical way to more effectively fight crime. Real-life experience suggests that’s not necessarily so. Experts say when using force is available, then it’s human nature for a trained police officer to fall back on that option when the going gets rough. Too often,…

Racist cop shows, biased news fuel public fears of crime

Portrayals of violent crime in pop culture and media are skewing people's perception of how likely it is to happen to them, says U of A expert

Racist cop shows, biased news fuel public fears of crimeU.S. President Donald Trump tweeted recently that defunding the police would “be good for Robbers & Rapists.” Last week, after signing his tepid executive order on policing, he proffered that “without police, there is chaos.” The reality, however, is that violent crime – the kind that people often think of when rationalizing the need for a…

Social change hampered by Neanderthals

Culture change is a messy process. We need to stand up to the ignorant in this fight for social justice

Social change hampered by NeanderthalsI truly think this time is different. I think as a society, we’re fed up with lingering racial injustice. It’s been heartening to see white leaders in government, corporate America and the sports world step up in a strong way toward social justice in the days since George Floyd died. But this movement toward real…
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