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Capital City's New Top Cop to Hang Rainbow Flag
Local leader says Toronto ten years behind

by Gilles Marchildon and Darry Marengere

OTTAWA-Carleton's new chief of police, Vince Bevan, will continue to uphold the city's progressive record with respect to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bevan announced yesterday that he has given the okay for the Rainbow flag to be hung in the main lobby of the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Police Service building on Elgin Street.  It will remain there for the duration of the Pride Week 2000 celebrations that start tomorrow, Friday, July 7th.

In addition, the head of the Hate Crime Section will drive an Ottawa-Carleton Police Service cruiser in the Pride Parade on Sunday, July 9th.

Members of the local LGBT community were anxious to see whether or not the city's new police chief would continue the initiatives introduced by former police chief Brian Ford, especially in the wake of recent difficulties encountered by Toronto's LGBT community with their police force. A string of crack-downs and arrests in that city have provoked the ire of local activists who do not feel very comfortable with the appointment of Julian Fantino as chief.

Fantino was behind the massive and expensive efforts in London, Ontario to break a supposed kiddie porn ring.  Despite efforts on his part, relations between the Toronto LGBT community and police remain strained.

"Toronto is about 10 years behind us," Carroll Holland, part-time staff of the Ottawa-Carleton Police Liaison Committee for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Communities told XTRA! newspaper back in February.  Started in 1991, the Committee brings representatives from organizations across the Community together with the Police Service.

It holds monthly meetings where, among other things, officers report on hate crimes.  In addition, the Police Service has established a phone line so that the Community could report incidents and, in the past, also conducted outreach in local high schools and other venues focusing on hate crime awareness.

It would seem that relations between police and the LGBT community are more developed and cordial in the nation's capital than in the country's largest city.

Back Row (L to R):  David Nurse, Detective, Hate Crimes Section; Larry Hill, Superintendent; Peter Crosby, Superintendent; Elizabeth Hall, Co-ordinator Liaison Committee Pride Week Panel Discussion; Alex Mackie, Deputy Chief.
Front Row (L to R):   David Pepper, Director of Community Development (Ottawa-Carleton Regional Police Service); Carroll Holland, Ottawa-Carleton Police Liaison Committee for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities; Sonia Brereton, Executive Director, National Capital Alliance on Race Relations.