A.B.L.E.'s statement of support (2017)

Association of Black Law Enforcers – Statement of Support of the OHRC's Inquiry into Police Racial Profiling

Charlene Tardiel, Community Services Officer (on behalf of the Association of Black Law Enforcers)

November 30, 2017

The Association of Black Law Enforcers (A.B.L.E.) is an organization representing the interests of active and retired individuals who are, or were employed as Police and Peace Officers in Federal, Provincial, and Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies. We are also individuals who belong to Black, and Racialized communities in Canada.

Our members acknowledge that the vast majority of police officers in our cities, provinces and indeed across Canada perform their sworn duties in an honourable, ethical and professional manner.

We as members of A.B.L.E. believe this to be true because we work with these officers and form part of the ranks of these organizations. However, as Black and Racialized law enforcers, we live and work in two worlds. We have a unique perspective on the community’s interactions with the system in that we interact, live and work in the community that we belong to and as such understand firsthand the socio-political and justice issues that emerge.

Accordingly, A.B.L.E. supports the position that the presence of “Racial Profiling” as a Systemic issue in law enforcement agencies exists and must be eliminated. In effect, A.B.L.E. believes that in order to better understand the issue of racial profiling and be able to create a common understanding it must be defined.

The working definition of racial profiling that A.B.L.E. adopts is:

Investigative or enforcement activity initiated by an individual officer based on his or her subjective stereotypical, prejudicial or racist perceptions of who is likely to be involved in wrong doing or criminal activity. This type of conduct can be unintentional, but can also be systemically facilitated when there are ineffective policy, training, monitoring and control mechanisms in a system.” (A.B.L.E. October, 2002)

As an internationally networked organization, A.B.L.E. shares a broad base of practical experience that can assist others with building and maintaining meaningful relationships that will assist in eradicating intended or unintended injustices to any citizen by questionable practises that have disproportionate impacts.

Accordingly, we support the initiation of an inquiry into Racial Profiling in policing by the Human Rights Commission as a means by which to better understand if the current changes to training, policy, and diversity hiring have assisted in minimizing and potentially eliminating racial profiling and its impacts.

We know that Racial Profiling unchecked will continue to erode essential trust and undermine legitimacy as it relates to policing in Black and Racialized communities. We also believe that Racial Profiling is not compatible with our vision of police services being provided in a fair, equitable, safe and human rights complaint manner.