Police host open house to seek out diversity

The Calgary Police Service is trying to entice people from all communities to get involved in the organization.

Calgary force wants members of all communities as new recruits, employees and volunteers

The Calgary Police Service hosted an open house on Wednesday evening in a bid to encourage members of the city's diverse range of communities to get involved in the force. (CBC)

The Calgary Police Service is trying to entice people from all communities to get involved in the organization.

The force hosted an open house at its northeast headquarters on Wednesday night, drawing hundreds of Calgarians.

“Whether as an officer or civilian member, volunteer, or participant in one of our youth programs, there are many ways to join our team,” police said in release.

Amina Gillani, who has volunteered with the service for eight years, says she is able to reassure people who are afraid of the police.

“I come from a country where there is a very poor perception of the judicial system. So when there is a crime in Pakistan people are scared to report the crime because there is so much corruption there versus here,” she said.

CPS recently dropped its three-year residency requirement for volunteers in a bid to be more inclusive of new members of the community.

Sgt. Bill Dodd said the police service has to reflect the community.

“They bring a whole different set of language skills, a whole set of skills to understand other people, a whole set of cultural knowledge and background.”

That includes different ethnicities, religions, disabilities and the LGBT community, Dodd said.

"I think it's important to reflect the community that you're policing," said Kirk Lawrence, who is finishing a justice studies degree and hopes to become a police officer.

“It helps especially with victim relief, victim assistance if you feel more comfortable around people you can relate to.”

Jessica Mardones is from Chile and hopes to become a volunteer to build bridges from her community to the police force.

“You know we might be able to see you know some difference in them and more trust because that's the word, is trust.”

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