By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Chatham-Kent Police Service brass are hoping to change the face of local policing by creating a new equality, diversity and inclusivity co-ordinator’s position.
At 15 per cent, CKPS has the second-lowest proportion of female officers within its ranks in Ontario. And at zero, CKPS has one of the lowest representations of women in leadership positions.
There are none in senior roles such as inspector.
Following a report from Chief Gary Conn at a recent meeting, the police services board approved the new hire.
Lack of diversity within the ranks of Canadian police services is a problem experienced nationwide. Conn said Canadian police services traditionally fail to attract female applicants, as well as Black, Indigenous or other people of colour.
Conn said the co-ordinator’s position is part of a plan to boost equality in policing within Chatham-Kent, and also confront the historical issue of patriarchy with police services.
The new position carries a salary of $100,600.
Conn, who is also currently serving as the president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, said more needs to be done to promote equity in the service.
“We have to confront the fact that our police service needs to change to better reflect the needs of Ontarians and our community,” heading into the future, Conn said in the report.
Hiring a new EDI coordinator is a first step towards that change, the chief has explained.