Lethbridge po­lice aim to be more trans­gen­der sen­si­tive

Medicine Hat News - - WEST -


A po­lice force in south­ern Al­berta says it has made changes to how of­fi­cers should in­ter­act with trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als.

The Lethbridge Po­lice Ser­vice heard con­cerns and re­ceived an of­fi­cial com­plaint last April after an of­fi­cer posted a com­ment on his per­sonal Face­book page about a trans­gen­der woman.

Dil­lon Har­g­reaves had been at a cer­e­mony at the Al­berta leg­is­la­ture on women’s suf­frage and the Face­book post sug­gested her at­ten­dance was in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

“I think Dil­lon is very brave, how­ever, I be­lieve this makes a mock­ery of im­por­tant women’s is­sues,’’ the post said.

It also called Har­g­reaves a trans­gen­der male.

“I live my life as a woman and I iden­tify as fe­male,’’ Har­g­reaves said at the time. “Not all women have the same is­sues, but we can all work to­gether to make a dif­fer­ence for women.”

Har­g­reaves said she had been in­vited to the cer­e­mony by Lethbridge mem­ber of the leg­is­la­ture, Shan­non Phillips, who is also the en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter.

The po­lice be­gan a pro­fes­sional stan­dards in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­ter­mined the em­ployee had not iden­ti­fied him­self as an of­fi­cer on Face­book nor did he claim to rep­re­sent the views of the Lethbridge Po­lice Ser­vice.

The of­fi­cer re­tired in June, but the force opted to con­tinue with a re­view of its poli­cies.

“So­ci­ety is al­ways chang­ing. What we deal with is al­ways chang­ing, so it was a good op­por­tu­nity to re­visit our poli­cies, and it was clear we had an area to beef up there,” Chief Rob Davis said at a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day.

The po­lice force al­ready had a pol­icy on search­ing and hous­ing trans­gen­der pris­on­ers, Davis said, but guide­lines have been added on gen­der iden­tity ter­mi­nol­ogy and the proper use of pro­nouns. Manda­tory di­ver­sity aware­ness train­ing has also been im­proved.

“Rather than as­sum­ing or de­fault­ing to what’s on a driver’s li­cence, in­stead, (have) a con­ver­sa­tion as to how the per­son would like to be ad­dressed,” Davis said.

“It’s been my ex­pe­ri­ence in polic­ing that we get very rigid some­times and we lose sight of lit­tle things like that. A sim­ple con­ver­sa­tion can re­ally al­le­vi­ate a lot of con­cerns.”

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