Montreal police recruiters are refuting accusations that they do not do enough to entice ethnically diverse or multilingual graduates to stay in the province.
This comes after Paul Chablo, head of the police technology program at John Abbott College, told Global News in March that many young anglophone graduates are leaving Montreal for the RCMP and Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
He said he believes the Montreal police recruitment strategy at John Abbott is part of the problem.
“What we get is recruiters who are usually francophones. They say, ‘We’re going to do this in French, we don’t do this in English,'” Chablo, who was a Montreal police officer for 30 years, told Global News last month.
Montreal police recruitment officer Ingrid Cataldo disagrees, telling Global News she has a squad of multilingual police officers who join her on recruitment missions at CEGEPs.
“They are completely bilingual or trilingual and represent different communities well,” she said.
Chablo said he has never met these “ambassadors,” as the recruiters are called by the Montreal force.
“If they are ambassadors, I’d love to meet them,” he said.
Two different John Abbott College police tech students who did not want to be named said at the most recent career fair, no English was spoken by any of the Montreal police recruitment officers.
One of the students added he was afraid to address the officers in English.
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Chablo mentioned the force doesn’t make an effort to bring John Abbott alumni to entice current students — something Cataldo disputes.
“I took one of my ambassadors who had studied at John Abbott,” she said.
After speaking to Global News in March, Chablo said he started hearing from people willing to volunteer their time.
“I’ve had former students who work for the Montreal police, including visible minorities, tell me, ‘I’d love to come to the college, I’d love to come recruit,'” Chablo said.
He also decried the Montreal force’s lack of visible minority officers.
In the most recent annual report, statistics showed the Montreal police force is over 90 per cent white.
“We are in the rate requested for visible ethnic minorities or aboriginal minorities, according to the Human and Youth Rights Commission,” Cataldo said.
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City councillor Marvin Rotrand says visible minorities and people wearing religious symbols should be embraced by the police.
Rotrand presented a proposal to this effect to Montreal City Hall a few weeks ago.
“If somebody is wearing a turban and it’s a deeply-held belief, that person is physically fit, has gone through police academy and is completely qualified, I think it’s wrong to say, ‘Go to another police force, go to the RCMP,'” Rotrand said.
The city says it is now up to the force to decide if it plans to move toward more inclusiveness in the future.
“What is everybody so afraid of?” Chablo asks.
“If the officer who’s wearing the turban or the hijab does not break any rules of CSST security, does not pose any danger to themselves or their partner, there is no issue.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.