Funding for this project was generously provided by the Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO) and the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).
During the program’s first session, students choose a legal topic of interest and spent the remainder of the sessions learning more about the topic. To culminate the project, students travelled to Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services where they interviewed a legal expert on their topic of choice. The interview was then aired on Wawatay Radio.
The students from DFC chose to focus this year’s project on the topic of police complaints. They shared that this topic was of interest to them as many of them had family or friends who’d had negative encounters with local police. In the first OJEN session, students were interested to discover that the Office of Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) was a resource that was available to the public in the event they needed to make a complaint about a police officer.
In the second session, students were visited by Gerry McNeilly, Independent Police Review Director, and Rosemary Parker, Manager of Communications & Outreach for the OIPRD. Mr. McNeilly and Ms. Parker led an informative session with the students and presented on topics such as an individual’s rights upon arrest, what police can and cannot do upon making an arrest, how to respond when you believe you have been wronged by the police, and how to submit a police complaint.
During the third session, students formulated a script for the radio show they would eventually record. They brainstormed questions they could ask legal expert Celina Reitberger, Executive Director of Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services, to help better inform their communities about police complaints.
The students practiced recording the radio show during the fourth session, and finally recorded the radio segment with Ms. Reitberger during the fifth project session. The students had a great time learning about how the radio equipment worked and getting a chance to speak into the microphones. Their questions produced informative answers, and they were pleased with the script they produced. The radio show was then edited and aired on Wawatay Radio.
During the last session, students listened to the radio show and reflected on the project as a whole. Students shared that they learned a lot about police complaints and that the project changed their previous opinions about officials, lawyers, and other community members in general.
The CBC also conducted an interview about the project which you can read more about by visiting: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/police-complaints-radio-show-1.4012375