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A new commanding officer at PDQ 11
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 9 février 2012

Photo: Marie Cicchini

PDQ 11 police commanding officer Roxane Pitre

With the new year came a new police commander at SPVM’s police station 11. Roxane Pitre is no rookie, and is now filling the position previously held by Daniel Leduc.

MC: What brought you to PDQ 11?
Commander Roxane Pitre: The SPVM can rotate personnel at the management level to maintain the innovative characteristics of its units. We’re part of a chain. I was the commanding officer for PDQ 13 in LaSalle for two years. I also showed my interest in PDQ 11. Daniel Leduc, the former commander, had other aspirations he wanted to pursue as well. So I landed here, in the middle of an incredible team.

Prior to that, I was managing major events such as hostage takings, barricaded suspects, and different high-stakes situations like the Freddy Villanueva incident and the riot in Montreal North the next day. Then I was appointed to the Eclipse team and the fight against street gangs, and then back to handling major events. After I was appointed to the Urban Brigade, Yvon Delorme, who was head of the SPVM at the time, asked me to set up a brigade to manage all the downtown festivals. We did the Montreal Jazz Festival, Just for Laughs, Nascar... we worked a lot with Spectra.

MC: Why did you select PDQ 11?
RP: I had experience with the Eclipse team and I knew NDG, having already worked here. I knew that PDQ 26 was going to appoint Gino Dubé. I wanted to stay in the western region, and PDQ 11 was the only one acting as a large-scale police station. I also wanted to work more closely with the anglophone community. I consider myself privileged here because we have elected borough representatives who have political power as members of the City of Montreal’s executive committee. When the police station wants to make changes, it’s that much easier when we have an excellent partnership with the borough.

MC: What is at stake in this area?
RP: In terms of crime in NDG, we have the highest number of people aged 75 and over and a surprising number of homes for the aged. They are often victims of fraud or abuse by their families. And NDG is no stranger to narcotics, just like everywhere else. We have street gangs like everywhere else. But they’re not all criminalized or dangerous. There is a wide generation gap, and the way teenagers dress and chill out in gangs is too often perceived as a threat by the elderly and by parents. Our officers explain this to them. We want to see more bicycles, more strollers, more people walking their dogs in public space. Otherwise, families will leave and criminality will settle in. NDG is not the far west. Shootings are perpetrated here by people who come from other areas.

MC: What is PDQ 11 doing to eliminate racial profiling?
RP: This is a very important issue for the SPVM. On April 4 three specialists are coming to provide training to all our officers. After that, over the next few months, the entire staff of PDQ 11 will be receiving a full day, perhaps two days, of information on racial profiling. For the past two years a new CD was produced every month, specifically to guide police officers during their interventions. The contents deals with the particular characteristics of youth and different cultural communities: First Nations, Sikh, South Asian and Black, with information on Islam, Buddhism, and so on. They’re presented to the entire unit’s personnel over a one-month period, and then we hold focus groups and discussions.

[ Marie Cicchini ]

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