The Quebec police ethics commissioner testified at the public inquiry in Val-d’Or, Que., Thursday morning.
He highlighted the gaps between his organization and Aboriginal people.
Marc-André Dowd, the commissioner of Quebec police ethics, started by telling the inquiry about his organization’s mandate.
“The police commissioner is an independent body,” said Dowd. “It is not part of the police services. It is independent, and our mission is to receive complaints against the police officers in Quebec involving any of the police services, municipal, Aboriginal police and the Sûreté du Québec.”
In Quebec there are 29 municipal police services, the Sûreté Du Québec and 22 Aboriginal police forces.
Dowd pointed out that they receive about 1,800 complaints annually but very few against Aboriginal police.
In 2016, there were 39 citations in front of the code of ethics committee involving 41 police officers.
Dowd admitted that working with Aboriginal peoples is challenging and a lot of work needs to be done.
“We have to build our confidence between people of First Nations and our services,” he said, “and this cannot be possible without on open dialogue with the communities (and) with the people in the communities.”
To help fill the gap, Dowd and his team came up with some solutions.
“It is important at least one person in each community has the mandate to reach out for the plaintiffs and work with the complainants with us,” he said.
But Dowd added their system is not adapted to Aboriginal people and improvement is needed.
“Conciliation is a part of the mechanism right now and I think it has a great potential for complaints involving Aboriginal people. But we have to look the way we do (at) our conciliation now and to adapt these processes with the cultural realities of Aboriginal people.”
The Quebec code of ethic’s commissioner hopes his suggestions become recommendations in the inquiry’s final report.