Montreal police chief Fady Dagher sworn-in

Montreal’s new police chief, Fady Dagher, shares his priorities for the city, in a one-on-one interview with Alyssia Rubertucci.

By News Staff

Montreal’s new police chief was sworn in on Thursday.

Fady Dagher officially named head of Montreal’s police department with a ceremony at Marché Bonsecours.

“We will build an even better [society],” declared Dagher.

“If you want to protect others, to help others, to live a life full of meaning, to make a difference around you. If you also like action and adrenaline, just as you like to support people in difficulty, please think about this profession in Montreal.”

Dagher was most recently the police chief in Longueuil, and is succeeding Sophie Roy, who became the interim chief after Sylvain Caron retired earlier in 2022.

“The bond of trust between the population and the police has been profoundly damaged since George Floyd and all the other dramas of this type. A part of the population has been reluctant to give us the benefit of the doubt, and even if these dramas took place in another city, another country, in a different context, we have all been affected, even here in Montreal.”

“I’m confident that your 25 years of experience at the SPVM, as well as your role as police chief at Longueuil, your ability to build bridges, and your understanding of the unique and complex challenges that Montreal faces, will allow us to work on making the city safer in an inclusive fashion,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.

“I want to make sure we have enough police officers on the road, in the troops. Second of all, I want to get close to the community, all communities, and third, I want to make sure we’re able to attack all the shootings that happened in Montreal.”

“I think it’s a perfect match. Between the experience Mr. Dagher has, the vision that he has for public security, which is this balance between prevention and repression, this is something our administration has been looking for when we’ve been talking about the Montreal model for public security. I’m confident, I’m excited, this is important for Montrealers, feeling safe, making sure our neighbourhoods are safe, so we will work hand in hand together,” added Plante.

Fady Dagher - Montreal new police chief SPVM

(CREDIT: Diona Macalinga/CityNews)

“We feel a gradual shift towards more community relations, community outreach,” said Fo Niemi, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations. “We feel a certain degree of openness on the part of many local police managers and districts to be more in tune with what’s going on the ground.”

“It gives a chance to everybody to believe that’s a dream and you can accomplish it. If I can help the youth believe it themselves by this position, than why not? I’m extremely proud,” said Dagher.

“Let us all, in all humility, work together, hand in hand, the police along with those working in administration of justice, and those in our communities, to find the most appropriate ways to protect our society. Let’s rebuild an even better one, and we can protect it and fight crime more efficiently.”

Having witnessed his work as chief of police of the Longueuil police department the last five years, Red Coalition’s director of racial profiling and public safety, Alain Babineau, believes that Dagher has “a genuine desire to get closer to all the communities in the city will certainly be helpful to him in achieving his mission and his objectives.”

“We’re very optimistic that he will heed the call for change in terms of the culture within the SPVM,” added Babineau.

Dagher, who speaks English, French and Arabic, was born and raised in Ivory Coast to parents of Lebanese descent.

One of the tasks ahead of him is re-establishing trust in police.

“Both the city and the SPVM need a closer partnership,” said Babineau. “An equal partnership where the community is allowed to express its expectations and are given a significant role to play in public safety in Montreal, as opposed to being told by the SPVM how they should behave and how they should conduct themselves and whatnot.”

One of the leading concerns, according to Niemi, is the “ongoing and always disturbing level of armed violence, shooting, and stabbing” running across the city.

“The whole issue of liaison with different racialized and Indigenous communities to address the issues of racism in police services and racial profiling would be definitely a key priority,” Niemi added. “And thirdly is to find ways and means to bring the different communities that make up the city closer to the police department, closer to police officers, to start a human conversation.”

“I already admitted that I did some racial profiling and I’ve been the victim of racial profiling,” Dagher said back at the end of 2022. “When you tell me about the mistrust in the community and the police, I understand that and we have no choice. We are condemned to work together, so we have to find a way to build those bridges.”

Dagher is the SPVM’s 42nd police chief.

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