Nova Scotia

Halifax police board's first black leader 'very pleased' to pave way for others

The Halifax Board of Police Commissioners has appointed its first female chair, and she's also the first black person to hold the position. 

Natalie Borden takes over civilian oversight of police force, meets new police and RCMP chiefs

Natalie Borden was acclaimed at a police commission meeting Wednesday afternoon. (CBC)

The Halifax Board of Police Commissioners has appointed its first female chair, and she's also the first black person to hold the position. 

Natalie Borden joined the board in 2018 and was acclaimed its new leader Wednesday. 

Borden said that it was a daunting role to take on. "I'm very, very pleased to come into the position knowing that I have laid the ground for folks to come after me," she said this afternoon. 

Borden replaces Steve Craig, the Halifax councillor who resigned after he was elected as the Progressive Conservative MLA for Sackville-Cobequid.

Borden is a pharmacist and an administrator with the Department of Health and Wellness, according to her board biography. She works with Nova Scotia Community College's African Nova Scotian Student Tutoring and also serves as a public member on the Council of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society.

The board gives civilian oversight to Halifax Regional Police on behalf of the Halifax council. It also works as an advisory board for the RCMP's Halifax district. 

New RCMP and police chiefs meet

Wednesday was also the first meeting for Halifax's new police chief, Dan Kinsella, and the new chief superintendent for the RCMP, Janis Gray.

"The first thing we have to sort out is the transition, working with new leadership," said Borden. "We certainly want to continue the work that we've done, particularly around the Wortley report and make sure we are not losing sight of that."

The Wortley report looked into the issue of police street checks in the Halifax region. It found that people were six times more likely to be street checked if they were black. Many people called for an end to street checks, but the board asked the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission for an opinion on the legality of the checks.

Carole MacDougall, the vice-chair of the police commission, said the human rights commission has indicated the opinion should be ready in September.

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