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Delta Police updating its use of personal pronouns

The goal is to have a philosophy shift internally within the department, rather than through a policy change, the Delta Police Board was told
deputy police cheif michelle davey
Deputy Police Chief Michelle Davey said they are in a constant state of learning when it comes to trying to make the DPD have even more equity, diversity and inclusion.

It’s part of a philosophical shift for the Delta Police Department.

That’s how a recommendation on the use of personal pronouns to department personal was described during the October meeting of the Delta Police Board Oct. 20th.

In a presentation to the board, Deputy Chief Michelle Davey explained a staff report on using pronouns to make the DPD much more inclusive.

She noted it won’t be mandatory and that education will be an important step in making sure those working for the department continue to not make assumptions about people based on their appearance.

Enabling people to feel seen for who they are, it’s a philosophy shift rather than a policy change, she said, adding employees are encouraged to change their use of pronouns in emails, written correspondence and addressing the public.

The report by Const. Joel Thirsk, Diversity Liaison Officer for the department, notes the most common pronouns are “she/her”, “he/him” and “they/them” and that most Canadians were raised with the understanding that when they meet someone new, they should address them as “sir” or “ma’am” to be respectful, or perhaps “Ms.” or “Mr.” 

“This thinking is not wrong, provided you know the individual that you are talking to,” said Thirsk. “This is why it is also important not to assume someone’s gender identity – be it in person, by phone, or e-mail. The same is true for personal pronouns. Addressing a crowd ‘good morning ladies and gentleman’ could exclude someone who doesn’t identify as either, but ‘good morning everyone’ hits the mark. At times, by trying to be respectful, polite, courteous, or formal, based on previous cultural norms, can have the opposite effect in modern settings. And that is why it is essential to remember intent versus impact. While the intent is likely not to offend, the impact may do just that.”

Thirsk also noted that if a mistake is made, it’s important to Apologize, Correct, Try Again (ACT).