Very pleased to co-author this short article for Manitoba School Counsellor Magazine with my learned and insightful friend and colleague, Sandra Hodzic, who has deep perspective and passion for refugee youth. Sandra is leading the provinces exploration of social impact bonds for better youth outcomes.
Canadian Public Administration vol. 55, no. 3 (September) p. 451–70.
Full article is here: 2012 Canadian Public Administration, The people are the police
Policing is an important element in the spectrum of services that impact living conditions, quality of life and social justice for Aboriginal communities. The ultimate policing goal should be to contribute to the realization of societies with safe living conditions and equal access to opportunities, health and happiness. In Canada, Aboriginal peoples were marginalized by colonization, becoming victims of social injustice whose significant effects on communities are felt to this day. This article explores how trust can be regained through improved communication, community engagement and empowerment. Trust building is critical for police and communities to move forward together. Truth telling, transparency and restorative justice may allow police agencies to align with the values of Aboriginal communities, support citizen empowerment, and better carry out the public will.
Winnipeg Free Press – PRINT EDITION Posted: 10/4/2014
Some characterize the police as an oppressive arm of government, yet they are among the first ones called in almost any kind of crisis. While social justice is not their primary mandate, police officers are the ones who, day in and day out, help homeless people get in from the cold, protect people suffering debilitating substance-abuse or mental-health issues and advocate for them.
In the vast majority of cases, police officers try to do their best for people in need. This phenomenon is not unique to Winnipeg, but our history has a particular social-justice character. We are a compassionate city, perhaps because of our diversity and the deep social issues we have struggled with.
People come to Winnipeg from around the world, often from conflict zones fleeing political violence, economic hardship and oppression. We have one of the largest urban aboriginal communities in North America and one of the largest French-speaking populations outside of Quebec. We earned an international reputation as a bastion of labour rights with the 1919 General Strike. Following the Second World War, Winnipeg’s standing as a centre for human rights grew as women of all classes and ethnic backgrounds protested against rising milk and food prices. We tolerate a harsh winter climate that draws us together and nourishes our rich contributions of art, music and literature.
Winnipeg is an international centre of learning about human rights and justice. The Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba trains master’s and doctoral students from over 30 countries for peace-building around the globe, and the University of Manitoba has several faculties, such as the Centre for Applied Ethics, focusing on human rights. Menno Simons College, Canadian Mennonite University and the Global College at the University of Winnipeg also train students for international peace-building.
It is no accident the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the first national museum established outside the Ottawa capital region, was opened in Winnipeg to serve as a beacon for human rights and social justice.
This intellectual underpinning is part of our compassionate culture. However, it is the people at street level who actually look out for vulnerable peoples’ basic human rights. It is the people who do the right thing for fellow human beings when nobody is looking that are our real protectors of human dignity. It is the business person who volunteers at a soup line and the child who stands up for a bullied peer at school. Each of us plays a part in our own unique ways, but we are all a part of our community.
The thing we know for sure is working together we are all stronger. As long as we continue to have problems in our community, we all must ask ourselves what we have done today to help make the situation better. “A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” (Khalil Gibran). We all know ways we can contribute, but until we act, we know we haven’t unleashed our full potential.
Staff Sgt. Bob Chrismas is in his 25th year with the Winnipeg Police Service.
CHRISMAS, Robert. An Arranged Marriage: Police – Media Conflict & Collaboration. Canadian Graduate Journal of Sociology and Criminology, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, p. 43-55, sep. 2012. ISSN 1927-9825
Media and police professionals are bound together in interdependent, and often tense, working relationships. For different purposes both professions need to work effectively together while simultaneously retaining independence from each other. These complex inter-reliant relationships create unique challenges that often call for improvement. This essay examines whether relationships between interdependent professional organizations can be improved through a collaborative problem-solving intervention, based on the interactive methods of facilitated dialogue and appreciative inquiry. The article describes a case study of a large Canadian police agency working with local media outlets to improve their working relationship. It highlights the importance of conflict analysis followed by effective change management strategies in implementation of collaborative solutions that meet everyone’s needs. This case study illustrates dynamics that generalize to organizations that have strong organizational cultures and are highly independent and simultaneously required to work together. Some examples of such organizations are military, prison guards, scholars, medical professionals, social workers, teachers, lawyers and most government agencies.
The Canadian Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies Vol. 44, no. 2, 2012 & Vol. 45, no. 1, 2013
The Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being
My wonderful daughter Brandi, co-authored this article with me. I am proud of her.
From the Chief Editors’s forward to the journal issue:
“This issue of the Journal features our youngest contributor to date, as 22-year old Brandi co-authors with her father Robert their inter-generational perspectives to the question, “What are we doing to protect newcomer youth in Canada, and help them succeed?” (Chrismas & Chrismas, 2017). Here is another two-generation policing family potentially in the making, and one that might exemplify the evidence-based policing culture of the future. The younger is completing her undergraduate degree in criminology and hopes to begin a policing career soon after. The older is a 28-year veteran of the Winnipeg Police Service, who just last month earned his PhD in Peace and Conflict studies.
The younger also offers us some hopeful projections on the next 50 years with, “I think we are growing out of racism and sexism, so that is a good thing. We are not quite there yet, but now police agencies have a larger percentage of female leaders and racism is becoming unacceptable in the public discourse. This, I believe has changed a lot over the past 20 years.” At the same time, she cautions that perceptions of police culture among the public may not yet realize on this ideal, and that “mainstream and social media representations of the police hold the potential to enhance or deteriorate those perceptions” (B. Chrismas, personal correspondence, October 17, 2017).
If this young author is correct, we face some important questions. Whatever comes to define our society as a whole in the next half-century, our place within it and our influences upon it are already being formed by the choices we make and the actions we demonstrate today and in the years ahead. Will we chart a determined course? And, are we prepared to guide our own relationship with Canadians—all Canadians?”