Waterloo regional police suspend community cruiser campaign
KITCHENER -- Waterloo regional police have suspended their community cruiser campaign following concerns from community members.
The force unveiled the new diversity-focused cruiser last month.
"The campaign was intended to highlight and celebrate the rich diversity of Waterloo Region, which is reflected in the membership of our Service," a notice their website said in part.
Officials said there were concerns about the concept and "the visual design elements on the cruisers."
"The service has listened to those concerns, apologizes to anyone who was offended, and has decided to suspend the campaign," police said in the update. "Moving forward, the Waterloo Regional Police Service, including its Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Unit, will continue to consult with citizens of Waterloo Region to identify, with the support and input of the community, ways in which the Service can better reflect the diverse Region we serve."
A petition to cancel the program was signed by over 4,000 people and was called 'performative action', 'tone deaf', and a 'waste of taxypayers money' by critics.
"Programs like this that are just surface level are actually not improving relations," said petition organizer Jessica Hutchison. "They are not improving structural changes in the way that will reduce the harm inflicted on Indigenous and Black community members."
The cruiser was meant to be the first of three new designs.