News Story

A Culture of Safety for All

“A Culture of Safety for All” is the slogan of the Winnipeg Police Board. The slogan served as the impetus for the Manitoba Multifaith Council’s (MMC) recent event to discuss how faith communities could help the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) address and improve public safety and to elicit ideas on how to engage the community. More than 100 people attended the safety event, held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building in Winnipeg.

Christine Baronins, director of public affairs for the Church in Winnipeg and MMC board member, stated, “For some of our faith communities, safety is a serious ongoing concern [and] members worship in fear. … Working with others to promote greater interfaith understanding and community improvement is a solution to the confusion and fear experienced. Faith groups can offer a wealth of information, resources and experience, … helping all in our community to be safe.”

Baronins, Ray Harris, a major in the Salvation Army and member of the MMC executive board, and Shauna Curtin of the Winnipeg Police Board (WPB) brought together members of law enforcement, faith communities and the general public to start a dialogue generating ideas and strategies for creating a culture of safety in the city.

City councillor Kevin Klein, chair of the WPB, said, “The board is beginning to hear from the community with more frequency, and we hope that continues. This event was a chance for all people and faith groups to speak directly with the Winnipeg Police Board about the biggest safety challenges in their community.”

Chief of police Danny Smyth outlined some of the programs the WPS is implementing to improve public safety; Leah Clifton, a young woman who has experienced homelessness, spoke on safety from her perspective; and Belle Jarniewski, president of the MMC, discussed anti-Semitism. Community roundtable discussions then followed, focusing on how faith traditions can help create a culture of safety.

Also in attendance were city councillors Markus Chambers and Janice Lukes, member of the legislative assembly Sarah Guillemard, Winnipeg Manitoba Stake president Josh Gruninger, Winnipeg Manitoba Stake first counsellor Richard Baronins and Winnipeg Manitoba Stake second councillor Christopher Palmer. Other faiths were represented as well, including Bahá’í, Christian, Jewish and Muslim.

Chief Smyth said, “It was a really diverse group, which doesn’t surprise me because we are a pretty diverse city. I got a chance to go to a few different tables, and there were some good ideas coming through.”

Councillor Lukes added, “I’m thankful for Christine [Baronins] and the [MMC] for pulling this together, because the timing was impeccable after the New Zealand tragedy.”

The endorsement of a safe environment is made plain in a First Presidency letter dated June 14, 2018, to leaders in Canada and the United States: “Leaders should be as careful with the safety of participants in their activities as they would be with the safety of their own children” (“Safety in Church Activities”.

City officials, police service workers and those of many faith traditions are making great efforts to make Winnipeg even more beautiful, inviting, healthy and safe. President Gruninger commented, “It was very reassuring to see such a positive response from the community to this event. … It was good to see the police force reaching out and partnering with the faith community in a way that will help foster future relationships.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.