Hiking pants, polo shirts part of reimagined VPD school officer program

May 1 2023, 10:08 pm

A Vancouver Police Board meeting has highlighted a new look for the controversial VPD School Liaison Officer program, including hiking pants.

A presentation during an April 20 Vancouver Police Board meeting outlined some steps to make the program more attractive and informal, including a new VPD-approved uniform.

The new school officer look includes a branded and crested golf polo, hiking pants, and a jacket. There will also be physical training attire consisting of a branded T-shirt and shorts, and a standard VPD uniform has not been ruled out on a “case-by-case” basis if there is an operational necessity for it.

Unfortunately, there is no concept art for the new uniforms.

The force is also looking to “reduce the visual impact and footprint of force options.”

Those changes include smaller firearms consisting of an inside waistband holster, smaller pepper spray canisters, smaller batons, and concealed radio communications. VPD officer Gary Hiar, who presented at the Vancouver Police Board meeting, said the visibility of firearms was a key concern for students.

There will also be changes to the vehicles officers drive to the schools. The Vancouver Police Board meeting highlights 15 unmarked vehicles that will not resemble traditional marked police vehicles. The intention is to reduce the visual impact compared to classic cop cars, but they’ll still have the same functionality as traditional ones.

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim promised to bring the program back as one of his election promises in September last year.

However, there were some concerns from students, especially those from racialized backgrounds, about the presence of police officers in schools.

Factors that the VPD will consider regarding recruitment include cultural awareness, representation and diversity, which entails hiring officers from various demographics and cultural backgrounds while adhering to the VPD hiring process. There will also be enhanced and specialized training for trauma, cultural awareness and restorative justice.

There are also plans to launch a dedicated School Liaison Officer website.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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