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Community leaders say Fady Dagher is the ‘right person’ to lead Montreal police

Click to play video: 'Community leaders believe Fady Dagher is good fit for new job as Montreal police chief'
Community leaders believe Fady Dagher is good fit for new job as Montreal police chief
WATCH: Fady Dagher has yet to be appointed as Montreal's new police chief but the reaction to the top candidate's nomination came quick. Community leaders say he has a huge task at hand, but they believe he's the right person to do the job. Global's Olivia O'Malley reports – Nov 24, 2022

The City of Montreal’s nominee to head the police force, Fady Dagher, appeared before the city’s selection committee Thursday. As Montrealers wait for the new police chief to be confirmed in the position, expectations are already high.

“I love it. I love it. I love it. I had wanted this the last time around and he didn’t get it,” said Dr. Myrna Lashley, a psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University.

Red Coalition Public Safety and Racial Profiling Director Alain Babineau was at Dagher’s first press conference Thursday afternoon.

“Mr. Dagher is the right person for the right job at the right time,” said Babineau.

Read more: Montreal’s next police chief wants to be ‘closer to the community’

It’s a time when community leaders are calling for change within the police department, to re-build trust with different racialized and minority communities.

“You’ve got to break down a lot of the stuff that’s been put in place. You know, a lot of the historical stuff. That’s not going to be easy,” said Dr. Lashley.

Dagher is already prioritizing what he’s known best for community policing. He says it’s important to be immersed in the field, building dialogue and repairing relationships.

“This is something very, very symbolic and significant, both in terms of the image and the substance, because you can’t police a city, you can’t police communities whom you don’t know,” said Fo Niemi, executive director for the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations.

Concordia researcher Ted Rutland worries that this form of policing could lead to more officers doing community work without proper training.

Read more: New initiative asks Montreal, Ottawa residents to film police interventions

“What we need to do is get on the bandwagon of enlarging our conception of public security and hire community workers to do community work, allowing the police to do their work,” said Rutland.

Leaders say one of Dagher’s biggest tasks shaping the future of policing is changing the culture within the Montreal force.

“He’s going to have to surround himself with trusted people, you know, because police agencies are very resilient to change,” said Babineau.

While they expect Dagher to draw on his own heritage and experience, community members say it’s important to give him time when he starts this new role.

 

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