In 2017, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) recognized a service gap in our city. The EPS did not have the capacity to attend most community engagement events that we were invited to every month. We lost numerous chances to get to know many of our wonderful communities and the citizens within them. We knew we had to find a better way to connect with our citizens and meet this need of community engagement, so the Police and Community Engagement (PACE) team was piloted.
We are excited to say that the pilot program was so successful, this team is now an official part of the EPS!
The employees of PACE have established a team of specifically selected and trained police officers who are dispatched to community engagement events. The PACE Coordinator strategically selects community engagement invitations, with priority given to culturally-diverse communities which are often under-represented in their proactive engagement with the EPS. We want to foster relationships where there were none so that we can work with our citizens to build safer, happier neighbourhoods.
We have already held training sessions to help our PACE volunteers understand the complex communities before we are welcomed into their events. This knowledge allows us to navigate any initial barriers with professionalism and empathy.
You will often see the PACE team at community events and presentations such as community bar-be-ques, cultural celebrations and festivals, sporting events, as well as instructing Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINCs) classes. They also try to attend community forums and intercultural dialogue sessions where they actively listen to community concerns and assist to collectively develop community-driven solutions. In 2019, PACE members attended nearly 200 community events, including:
Edmonton Tamil Cultural Association’s Pongal Harvest Festival
Alberta Gujarati Association’s annual cricket tournament
Numerous Coffee with a Cop events
Brightview School’s National Indigenous People’s Day Celebration
Bent Arrow Multi-Cultural Day Celebrations
Fall Harvest Fair
This year, in addition to attending community events, PACE members hope to develop a youth summer camp, create and host their own events for the public to enjoy with us, and more.
Do you want PACE to attend your community event? Please send your request via e-mail to: PACE@edmontonpolice.ca at least 3 weeks prior to the event. Should the PACE program not be able to fill an event request, or should an event not meet the PACE program mandate, efforts will be made by the PACE Coordinator to connect the requestor with another more appropriate area of the EPS.
Learn more about PACE here, and follow them on Instagram to see the community events they’re attending in Edmonton.