SASKATOON -- Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) is undertaking a project to review calls for service to determine which calls could be redirected to an alternative service provider.

That detail is included in a section devoted to police reform in the SPS 2020 Annual Report. More details about the project are expected this year, the report says.

The report notes that the death of George Floyd in the United States initiated rallies across North America in recognition of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, including in Saskatoon in June.

"Most of the rallies called for changes to the way police interacted with visible minorities and the way money was allocated to police by municipalities. The latter point has become known as the 'Defund the Police' movement," according to the report.

SPS says it recognizes the significance of the BLM movement and related movements such as Indigenous Lives Matter.

"It is movements such as these that lead to positive societal change where everyone in the community, including the SPS, can benefit," the report says.

SPS says it supports calls for reform and is working to improve transparency and trust, and find solutions to enhance safety and security within the community.

Those ideas include:

  • Expansion of the Police and Crisis Team to respond to persons in need who are experiencing significant mental health or addiction issues
  • Implementation of an Alternative Service Delivery Model to respond to community safety concerns in the most appropriate and cost effective manner
  • Continued involvement and support with community safety initiatives such as Sawêyihtotân, the Restorative Action Program, Mobile Crisis, Community Support Program and the Okihtcitawak Patrol Group
  • Implementation of an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Executive position responsible for ensuring that the fundamentals of equity, inclusion and diversity are recognized and incorporated throughout the organization and its culture.

"We understand that there is always more work to be done, but the SPS believes these are steps in the right direction that will ultimately lead to enhanced safety and security for the entire Saskatoon community," the report says.