I worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for over 3 years as the workflow analyst and forms designer.
I had been working there only a month when a request came into my office to update form ED301 that officers completed when they attended a domestic violence incident.
The request was to add a checkbox for the gun registry check – but since there was a place to note that already, that request was ultimately denied by the Criminal Operations Policy Centre.
However, that wasn’t the only change I noticed that the form needed.
the form assumed that the male was the abuser and amazingly, allowed for a male or female victim.
but there was no way to capture lesbian relationships or allow for the situation of the woman abusing the man.
I knew that then Justice Wally Oppal had conducted an extensive review of the Provincial Court system with respect to violent Family situations, so I got a copy of that report to quote it to draft a memo.
I drafted my memo explaining the changes and why – using the Oppal Report.
I talked about how officers lack training to understand that with gay and lesbian couples, the officers are not trained to understand those dynamics and they generally just arrest the one who didn’t make the phone call.
which is usually actually the bully because the victim partner finally fought back.
police go with what is the usual – domestic – arrest the man and move onto the next call.
Anyway, it took 2 months for the policy centre to get back to me. my manager was unpleased, telling me not to bring my personal issues to work.
I was shocked to have to explain that this wasn’t personal, this was community policing and police need to understand the communities they serve or at least allow for all situations to be captured on the forms.
someone was having personal issues, but the policy centre was not one of them – my memo and bringing the Oppal report to the policy centre’s attention was needed and result in directive and manual procedure changes to.
which is what is supposed to happen.
a few months later, at a birthday party with 7 lesbians, I shared the story of getting our community acknowledged on a government form – years before marriage equality became possible
and everyone cheered – until the realization of what form it was hit home