‘We were actually shocked’: Calgary police chief reacts to vaccine policy rant from former hate crimes officer

No cases were affected and there’s hope this can help strengthen the relationship between minority groups and police.

That’s what Calgary’s police chief said on Tuesday after a video surfaced last week showing former hate crimes officer, Const. Brian Denison, comparing Calgary’s vaccine policy to the Holocaust.

WATCH: CityNews’ Stefanie Lasuik reports on a Calgary police officer comparing the city’s vaccine policy to the Holocaust.

“We’re looking for opportunities with the community to say ‘how do we take this experience and use it as a means of actually educating and improving relations between the community rather than having them torn down by one individual making insensitive comments,’” said Calgary Police Chief Mark Neufeld.

Neufeld says they reached out to Calgary’s Jewish community right away.

“Calgary police and Calgary’s Jewish community do have a good relationship and this incident shouldn’t be an indication of officers across the board,” said Kelly Sundberg, an associate professor in justice at Mount Royal University.

Hate crimes researcher Irfan Chaudry says Neufeld’s words and subsequent actions can help repair any loss of trust.

“I think accountabilities have to be had here and in this regard, I think that’s been the case,” said Chaudry.


Chaudry and Sundberg say the next steps are key – and that’s ensuring hate crime officers fit the role.

“When you have a hate crime unit, you need to have such a high level of emotional intelligence, empathy, and compassion,” explained Chaudry.

Sundberg wants Alberta to take this lesson as it looks to create a province-wide hate crime unit.

“It’s of paramount importance that the officers who serve on these hate crime units are specially trained, are specially selected and are afforded a broad scope of tools and resources that they can utilize to reduce hate crime in our province,” said Sundberg.

As for Denison – CPS says he remains on leave with pay as they look to suspend his pay.

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