Members of York Regional Police were honoured to welcome more than 300 Syrian refugees to our region last spring in the beautiful rural backdrop of our Community Safety Village.
Hosted by the YRP Hate Crime Unit, the special event included introductions to members of York Regional Police from across our service, including those in the Air Support, Canine and Traffic Enforcement Units, as well as staff from the Whitchurch-Stouffville Community Substation.
One of the important goals of the event was to educate the newcomers about our police service and our deep commitment to open dialogue and community partnerships. We understand that while responsibility for inclusivity, equality and diversity is shared across our community, we want to ensure that the marginalized and vulnerable know they have the support of York Regional Police.
Hate Crime Unit Constable Maryam Alikhani, speaking through Arabic interpreter, reassured our newcomers that they have a voice and an ally in York Regional Police. She emphasized that we will continue to support them through open dialogue and community engagement that will in some small way, help to heal the trauma that has so profoundly affected their lives.
Greetings were delivered by Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, her Honour the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, and York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe. Representatives from our regional, provincial and federal governments were on hand as well.
From touring the YRP helicopter Air2 and laughing at the antics of the Canine Unit Police Service Dogs to posing on a YRP motorcycle and enjoying a delicious picnic lunch on the Safety Village lawns, the newcomers were treated to a warm and welcoming event that we hope will have a lasting impact.