The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) today announced that it will walk in Vancouver’s Pride Parade for the 21st consecutive year in August 2017.
“Our members and volunteers look forward to participating in the Pride Parade each year, and we’re pleased that we can keep that tradition going,” said Staff Sergeant Randy Fincham, VPD spokesperson. “Supporting Vancouver’s LGBTQ2S+ community goes beyond just the parade. We will continue to enhance our existing outreach, education, and awareness efforts year-round to help the community thrive and feel safe.”
Representatives from the VPD have been in discussions with the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) and other community groups about the VPD’s presence in the parade after concerns were raised in previous years about police participation in pride parades in major cities across North America. The VPD and VPS have agreed to the following changes this year:
- VPD members and volunteers will walk in the Pride Parade as part of the City of Vancouver entry, which will also include City staff and members of Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services. The vast majority of VPD representatives will walk in t-shirts, while a small portion – about 20 per cent of the contingent, including those officers who are visible in the community – will walk in uniform.
- There will be no marked police vehicles in the 2017 Pride Parade.
- The VPD will participate in VPS-facilitated listening circles, both before the parade and year-round, where community members can share their stories with police in an accessible and supportive environment.
For many years, the VPD has done a significant amount of work to support Vancouver’s LGBTQ2S+ community, and will continue to maintain its commitment and enhance these efforts.
- The VPD’s LGBTQ2S+ liaison officer is dedicated to working with the community full-time to build trust and relationships.
- Since 2016, all new and existing VPD members are required to view a 17-minute training video called “Walk With Me” to learn more about transgender issues. The video was developed by the VPD, in consultation with the community.
- The VPD is currently co-delivering, with Qmunity, cultural competency training to all police officers.
- The VPD – LGBTQ2S+ Advisory Committee is currently working on a transgender search policy for the VPD. This Committee was previously instrumental in developing policy with respect to initial contact with transgender people.
- The VPD brought the “Safe Place Program” to Vancouver in 2016. The program assists victims in the LGBTQ2S+ community by helping them identify a safe place/business from where to call police if they feel threatened. More than 200 businesses have signed up to display Safe Place signs in their windows, and this number is growing.
- VPD members regularly participate in community events and community working groups.
For more information, visit vpd.ca.