Halifax’s police chief says law enforcement in this country is inevitably challenged by police-civilian conflicts in the United States, although Canadians need to know things aren’t comparable on this side of the border.
Jean-Michel Blais says Canadian police often “end up wearing” U.S. law enforcement issues, particularly as a result of highly charged incidents in places such as Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, and North Carolina.
He told a business audience Friday that one of the biggest challenges for police is dealing with perceptions that often have “no basis in fact.”
But Blais says for him, the so-called Ferguson effect in the U.S. means “what happens there, matters here.”
Blais says to combat perceptions and to deal with real problems police have to involve themselves in more community engagement in order to keep a level of trust.
He says while the problems in the U.S. aren’t directly applicable to the Canadian context, there is still plenty of work to do here when it comes to race relations.