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Caribbean and Latin Americas community

Vibrant communities provide a significant contribution to Calgary's diverse culture, even as they continue to struggle with prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. The Caribbean/Latin Americas liaison officer works to build understanding and awareness, to break down the barriers of prejudice and discrimination, and to build harmony between Calgary's diverse communities. The liaison officer's role is to create and nurture strong relationships built on mutual trust, understanding, and effective two way communication between those communities and the Calgary Police Service.

Constable Garry Woods is the current Caribbean and Latin Americas community liaison officer. He has been a police officer for eighteen years, fourteen of those in Northern Ireland. He speaks three languages, and is currently re-learning Spanish.

Email Cst. Garry Woods at gwoods@calgarypolice.ca or contact by phone at 430-428-8164.

Community involvement

The Caribbean/Latin Americas liaison officer participates in the African and Caribbean Advisory Council and the Hispanic Community Advisory Council. Both councils were formed to foster an atmosphere of goodwill and trust between police and community, and to provide an opportunity to discuss community issues and concerns.

The Caribbean and Latin Americas liaison has been very actively involved on various levels with the community, including the facilitation in May of a mobile Colombian Consulate here at Westwinds. Community involvement is achieved through meaningful dialogue and engagement at many levels, including, but not limited to, the establishment and regular meeting of the Caribbean and Latin Americas Police Advisory Board. This board is a forum for discussion and meets regularly, providing a platform for those within the community to actively engage, face to face, with the police, and to jointly address concerns with the goal of positively impacting the lives of all.

Other involvement has included attendance at many cultural events, currently twenty-five so far this year. The portfolio holder was also responsible for organizing in March a Citizenship Ceremony for approximately four hundred new citizens from all over the world.

The liaison also sits on a working group of the Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary responsible for addressing how we may better meet the needs of newly arrived immigrants, and works closely with Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, providing assistance and education when requested.

Calgary Police and the community

The police are here to help and to provide a service regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender, religious belief or sexual orientation. The community liaison encourages participation from all communities in an effort to learn from each other and dismantle barriers. Two-way education and awareness will foster an improvement in relations between the CPS and the community, and will result in the removal of stereotypes.