Hamilton Police are taking the first steps in the process of improving relations between police and the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ community by launching an engagement survey, in partnership with McMaster University. It is hoped the survey will help inform the selection of a suitable facilitator to lead ongoing conversations between police and Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities.
To ensure that community members feel safe to respond honestly to questions about community engagement with police, Dr.Tina Fetner, the Chair of the Department of Sociology, will lead the survey administration and compile a thematic analysis of the findings. These results will be shared with Hamilton Police.
“We’ve listened to the community and understand that trust has been lost with Hamilton’s Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities,” says Chief Frank Bergen. “That’s why it is imperative to involve the community in the selection of a facilitator so we can begin the conversation on how to move forward.”
Chief Bergen’s first move in this area was to meet with Hamilton’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee earlier this year to explore options for beginning a reconciliation process, but the meeting ended with no advice being provided to Chief Bergen. At that time he promised to consult with a broader cross-section of the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ community.
Dr. Fetner’s team will act as an independent third party survey administrator, which aims to incorporate the voice of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ community members.
The survey is confidential and anonymous to ensure that respondents feel safe to share their thoughts. Hamilton Police will only be provided with a final report outlining the thematic analysis.
“This is an important survey and we encourage everyone in Hamilton’s Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities to participate. A genuine process for dialogue and healing must be transparent, safe for participants to speak freely, and inclusive of diverse perspectives and intersections,” says Bergen.
Anyone who is over 18-years-old and a member of the Two-Spirit and/or LGBTQIA+ community in Hamilton is eligible to participate in this survey. This survey should take 5-10 minutes to complete. It inquires about the qualities of a strong facilitator, key issues Hamilton Police should address, and what healing and trust-building with the Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ community should look like.
The survey will run until September 30 and can be accessed online at https://tinyurl.com/hamiltonpolicesurvey .