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New Halifax police chief says random street checks won't be tolerated
In his first public interview as the chief of Halifax Regional Police, Dan Kinsella says he believes the random stopping of any individual based on race or sexual orientation is inappropriate and won't be tolerated.
“The random stopping of any individual based on race, or colour of their skin, or sexual orientation, or any bias-related foundation is inappropriate and it’s not going to be tolerated here in Halifax,” Kinsella told CTV anchor Steve Murphy in a live interview on Tuesday evening. “We do our work based on information, based on intelligence, based on necessity,” Kinsella said. “Is there a need some time to stop people? Absolutely. In certain circumstances, and under the appropriate situation, but we also have to pay attention to what the law of the land is -- legal rights, human rights, all those kinds of things, to make sure we do it appropriately.”
Kinsella said he’s looking forward to learning about his new community, meeting people and sees it as a great opportunity to “take the time to listen and learn.”
“I have some lived experience in Ontario in regards to the street-check issue,” said Kinsella, who is the former deputy chief of operations for the Hamilton Police Service. “What we moved on to is the collection of identifying information in certain circumstances.”
Kinsella says he’s aware that carding is not popular and some think it’s not constitutional. He’s also aware of the Wortley report prepared for the Halifax Regional Police, which documented criticism of the way force conducted street checks because it disproportionately targeted African Nova Scotians. The report also made several recommendations to eliminate the racism that led to the “abject cynicism expressed by Black citizens during community consultations,” Scot Wortley wrote in his report.
In addition to reading the Wortley report, Kinsella says he wants to do more research.
“Historically, there are some negative experiences that people have had and I have to learn about those,” Kinsella said.
He’s aware of the board of police commissioners’ recommendation to issue an apology, but he isn’t going to immediately grant that request.
“I’m going to meet with people,” the new chief said. “I’m going to have face-to-face conversations with them and make an informed decision on what I hear.”
Kinsella says he came to Halifax from Hamilton looking for a new challenge and feels fortunate that he got the job.
“My whole career, I’ve always been looking for a new challenge and if there is a challenge out there, I like to get involved with it and see how I can make out,” he said. “A fresh set of eyes is always useful in any organization.”