Police Watchdog Shift Toward Diversity Long Overdue
Justice Michael Tulloch released his government-commissioned review of the three bodies — the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the Officer of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) — that oversee policing in the province on Thursday April 6, 2017. The report contains 129 recommendations to make police watchdogs more transparent and accountable.
Among those 129 recommendations, Justice Tulloch’s race-based statistics recommendation was one of several praised by rights groups and advocates, who appreciated the emphasis placed on diversity, cultural training, and the focus on Indigenous communities. The report states Ontario’s oversight bodies must be “both socially and culturally competent.”
The move toward greater diversity is long overdue, said Julian Falconer, who has represented many families of people killed by police. Falconers LLP also has offices in Thunder Bay and has represented several Indigenous clients in cases of police accountability.
In his submission to Justice Tulloch during the review process, Mr. Falconer was “quite blunt” about the lack of diversity when it comes to the director of the SIU. “Why for 25 years was it only a white male Crown attorney . . . who could do the job?” Falconer said
In the News
‘The conversation has shifted’ April 8, 2017, Toronto Star Touch
Human rights chief praises police oversight report’s focus on race and diversity April 7, 2017, Toronto Star
Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review April 6, 2017, The Honourable Michael H. Tulloch
News Release: OIPRD Welcomes Recommendations to Improve Complaints System April 6, 2017