Officers with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and local RCMP will not wear their uniforms while participating in the Edmonton Pride Parade next month.
This is a first for Edmonton. The Edmonton Pride Festival Society (EPFS) said it hopes the decision will help build relationships between police and marginalized members of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
In the past, police agencies in some cities were seen to make marginalized people feel unsafe and were asked not to participate in pride festivities altogether, the EPFS said.
Edmonton police made the decision to wear civilian clothes while walking in the parade after consulting with members of the LGBTQ community through the EPS Sexual and Gender Minorities Community Liaison Committee.
“This is an excellent opportunity for our EPS members and the community to continue building and strengthening relationships with the barrier that the uniform sometimes represents,” EPS Sup. Brad Doucette said in a media release.
The EPS entry in the pride parade will also offer the chance to look “beyond the badge” and showcase officers as people who are members and allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community, police said.
Once the EPS made the decision not to wear uniforms in the parade, the RCMP followed suit, according to the EPFS.
“Out of support for those who feel marginalized, the Alberta RCMP has decided to attend this year’s pride parade out of uniform,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Jeremie Landry said.
“Participants will be wearing RCMP pride T-shirts, as proud employees of the RCMP, in support of the LGBTQ2S+ community.”
The Edmonton Pride Festival runs from June 8 – 17. The parade will make its way down Whyte Avenue on Saturday, June 9.