Hamilton police welcome new equity, diversity and inclusion specialist

Hamilton Police Chief Frank Bergen says he needs to hire 13 additional officers to meet mandated minimum standards, and growing calls for service. Shallima Maharaj / Global News

Hamilton police have named Paola Jani as their new equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) specialist.

Jani is an equity and violence prevention specialist who has advocated for human rights in both Canada and India.

The Hamilton native begins her new role on Feb. 1.

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The Hamilton Police Service Board approved the EDI specialist role in October 2020 after it was identified as critical to facilitating the development and implementation of the service’s equity, diversity and inclusion strategy.

The position was identified as a need after an independent review into the Hamilton Police Service’s response to violent protests at the 2019 Hamilton Pride Festival.

The report found the police response was “inadequate” and officers “failed to protect” festival attendees due to a lack of preparation.

Read more: Hamilton LGBTQ2 residents react to Pride 2019 review — ‘We knew that we were right about this’

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“This role is the first of its kind for the Hamilton Police Service and I want to thank the Police Service Board for their support and commitment to making equity, diversity and inclusion a priority,” CAO Anna Filice said in a statement.

“Paola’s role will be critical to setting the foundation for our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy. While we recognize we have much work ahead of us, Paola’s work, in partnership with the community, will support us in making our workplace and ultimately, our services, more inclusive and welcoming for all.”

Click to play video: 'Inspectors and police prepare for weekend inspection blitz at big box stores in Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton and Durham'
Inspectors and police prepare for weekend inspection blitz at big box stores in Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton and Durham

Jani holds an undergraduate degree in political science, a post-graduate diploma in public management, and a master’s degree in world heritage studies.

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She has also earned multiple post-graduate certificates, including from the United Nations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in leveraging diversity and inclusion for organizational excellence from Stanford University.

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