OPINION: P.E.A.C.E can help foster peace

Chatham-Kent OPP Const. Nicole Mailloux, left, is serving as a mentor to Moraviantown’s Miah Parenteau as part of the Police Ethnic and Cultural Exchange (P.E.A.C.E.) placement this summer. Parenteau, who is in school to become a social worker, wants to learn more of what it means to be a police officer.

The P.E.A.C.E. program can promote peace and understanding.

For everyone involved.

Talk about a wonderful initiative. P.E.A.C.E. – Police Ethnic and Cultural Exchange – partners young Indigenous individuals with police officers for the summer.

Locally, we have Moraviantown’s Miah Parenteau involved through the OPP. For the summer, Parenteau is partnered with Const. Nicole Mailloux, and will get a glimpse into what it’s like for police officers in their jobs.

She had her eyes opened her very first shift, attending a fatal car crash.

But more importantly, Parenteau, who is in her third year of university studying to be a social worker, will see how the police interact with the public, in good times and in bad.

She is also sharing her Indigenous and youth perspective with the OPP.

Let’s face it, the OPP has long had difficult interactions with the province’s Indigenous people. Individuals such as Parenteau, in P.E.A.C.E. and afterwards, can help foster change…as long as there are open ears in law enforcement at higher levels.

We are impressed by Parenteau’s outlook and goals. She hopes to specialize in outreach and harm reduction with Indigenous populations, as well as helping un-housed Indigenous people in urban settings.

Lofty goals. But she is the granddaughter of Lana Parenteau, who has for years been an activist for human rights, especially for those of First Nations people.

The younger Parenteau smartly hopes to pay close attention to how officers operate in a host of situations, and use that information later in life. She knows that as a social worker, she will very likely at times be working in close association with the police.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, the police can always benefit from seeing the other perspectives. They regularly deal with people in high-stress situations for a host of reasons. Getting an insight into culture and mindset can’t help but aid police in their work in de-escalating interactions, or helping to calm and support families in time of tragedy.

Const. Shawn Egan of the OPP correctly called the P.E.A.C.E. program a two-way street.


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