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A letter from Chief Goerke to the community

To the citizens of West Vancouver & Xwemelch’stn,

Most community members are aware of several recent incidents of police use of force, both in Canada and abroad, that have justifiably created concern and anger in our community. The people who make up the West Vancouver Police Department, who have dedicated their work lives to serving this community and improving the safety, security and quality of life for all, are also disheartened, frustrated and angry. We understand that these events may cause people to criticize and question both the integrity of the individuals who work in policing and the institutions of policing themselves. 

I acknowledge that racism continues to exist in our society and in every community across this country. Policing is no more immune to this struggle than any other institution or entity in our democracy. The West Vancouver Police Department is made up of individuals who are dedicated and work hard to provide a police service that does not discriminate based on race, heritage, sexual orientation, gender, religion, ability or any other distinguishing ground. As Chief Constable, I always strive to ensure our actions are rooted in our values and that we continuously strive to improve our methods of recruiting, training and operations. Now, more than ever, we must renew our efforts to look for ways forward that achieve our aims.

The police have a duty to care for all citizens, particularly those they have arrested. 

The WVPD reaffirms its pledge to treat all people with dignity and respect. 

Recently, we have received questions from community members regarding policies and training for WVPD staff in relation to bias free policing and the police use of force. It is important that the community knows that the training our staff receives is consistent with provincial policing standards. Our police officers and staff receive training that specifically addresses implicit bias, racism, and cultural awareness, both in service, on an ongoing basis, and at the Justice Institute of BC Police Academy. We pay a great deal of attention during the recruiting process to hire persons of good character committed to the values of the WVPD and policing in this province. 

We work and engage with a wide variety of individuals and groups in our community and across the North Shore to build relationships founded on respect, listening and understanding. Each and every day our goal is to achieve policing that is community based and is perceived as legitimate and trusted by those we serve.

We police a diverse community, and will continue to police it with accountability, collaboration, integrity and professionalism. We reaffirm our commitment to maintain the public trust we have worked hard to build. We reaffirm our commitment to create an internal culture and work towards a community culture that supports diversity and inclusion for every person. In the face of the failure of a few, and the stain that brings to all, our determination and commitment will not waiver.

We will continue to be accountable to the citizens we serve.  

 

Respectfully,  

Chief Constable Len Goerke