Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Unit : Hate Crimes Unit | Citizens Police Academy | Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Unit FAQs

Cst. Rick Lavalee

Diversity & Aboriginal Policing UNIT

The Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Unit works with specific populations within the city who have significant public safety issues. These groups can be defined by a cultural, economic, ethnic, sexual, racial, religious, marginalizing, or some other distinguishing characteristic.

Section Goals

The members of the Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Unit aim to improve the following measurable policing and public safety outcomes applicable to these populations:

  • over-representation in illegal behaviours
  • over-victimization
  • under-reporting of crimes
  • participation in investigations and in court as victims / witnesses
  • involvement in crime prevention activities
  • provision of information/intelligence on criminals, crime groups and crimes
  • perceptions of safety / fear
  • confidence in the police

Strategies and Activities

Strategies used within the VPD to address these safety issues and cultural factors include supporting recruitment to ensure the Department has a diverse workforce. For example, the Aboriginal Cadet Program is a mentoring program for Aboriginal youth interested in becoming police officers.

The Unit also works with Training and other sections to provide professional development to front line members. For example, members collaborated with the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre and the City of Vancouver on an Aboriginal Awareness pilot program in 2009. These sessions introduced VPD members and city employees to the urban Aboriginal community who, at excessive levels, suffer over-victimization, criminalization and have a lack of trust in the police.

Relationships are developed with specific communities at both the personal leadership and front line levels. Outreach is also accomplished through the local media and the Unit's participation in community forums, workshops, and rallies.

To address specific safety issues, members meet regularly with representatives from diverse communities.

Aboriginal Community

The VPD's Aboriginal Liaison officer works closely with the Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, developing front line relationships with numerous organizations and individuals in the urban Aboriginal community and working directly with Aboriginal youth.

LGBTQ Community

In 2016, the VPD created new policy for officers interacting with transgender people. The policy was developed in partnership, and has been endorsed by the VPD's LGBTQ Advisory Committee, and both the Trans Alliance Society Board and the City of Vancouver's LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee.

Also in 2016, Constable Dale Quiring launched the VPD Safe Place program. Local businesses and institutions display a sticker on their windows identifying their location as shelter for anyone in the LGBTQ community who is feeling unsafe or who is being targeted for a crime.

VPD Safe Place
VPD Safe Place

Other Community Initiatives

Through its members' participation in the B.C. Law Enforcement Diversity Network, the Unit also connects with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and municipal law enforcement agencies to host an annual educational forum for both the police and the public. Past forum themes have included Hate Crimes and Aboriginal Awareness.

The Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Unit regularly participates in the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade, Vaisakhi, the Women's Memorial March, Aboriginal Veterans' Day, Pride Parade, Caribbean Days, and the Pulling Together Canoe Journey, to name a few.

vancouver police thunderbird

VPD Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Section


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Contact the VPD's Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Unit

(604) 717-2763


Unit Wins National Award

The Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Section won the 2011 Minister of Justice National Youth Justine Policing Award for the E.A.S.Y. program.

Read the details on our 2011 External Awards webpage.

Programs and Initiatives

VPD Aboriginal Cadet Program

Interested in a career in policing? Check back here in the Spring for details on the next Aboriginal Cadet Program.