Aboriginal group offers police cultural training

Aboriginal group offers police cultural training EDMONTON (CBC) - One of the largest aboriginal groups in Edmonton is offering to give the police service cultural and sensitivity training, after the chief took officers to task for sending around a racist e-mail. Allan Benson, CEO of Native Counselling Services, says the majority of police officers in the city do a good job, with a small minority making everyone look bad. 'We're wanting to make the offer for diversity and cross-cultural training to the city police because when these incidents occur, the community tends to over-react,' Benson said. 'So, for that reason, we think it's really important to let the community know that we're willing to offer the kind of support that's needed to prevent this from happening in the future.' Earlier this week, acting Chief Daryl da Costa said a 'racist, discriminatory, disgusting and offensive' e-mail that discussed 10 ways aboriginals should be treated was sent from one officer to others. Da Costa launched an internal investigation and said the police service won't tolerate that kind of attitude. Benson said training for the Edmonton officers could mirror what was provided in Saskatoon, following the Neil Stonechild inquiry, which was held last year, 14 years after the 17 year old's body was found on the city's outskirts. A public inquiry later determined police had Stonechild in custody in the hours before he died. Craig Nyirfa, the Saskatoon Police Service's aboriginal liaison, said the training allowed for issues to be discussed. 'It put them in a position where people had to discuss and look at the issues,' he said, saying that was an important step. the CBC, 2005