Retiring Saanich police member Staff Sgt. Scott Treble has been recognized by the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island (AHAVI) for a long career focused on promoting diversity and fostering positive police relationships with people of colour in the community.
During a virtual awards ceremony on Nov. 21, AHAVI presented Treble with the Meritorious Service Award. Since 2013, Treble has served as co-chair of the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (GVPDAC) alongside Dr. Moussa Magassa. Together, they worked hard to find ways for police to connect with the community, build trust and repair the relationship between residents of colour and police.
|The African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island recognized retiring Saanich police Staff Sgt. Scott Treble for a long career focused on promoting diversity and fostering positive police relationships. (Photo courtesy William Goldiet)|
William Goldiet, president of AHAVI, explained that the community group – which brings together people of African descent and promotes the celebration of culture – has worked closely with the GVPDAC to facilitate communication and build trusting police-community relationships
“Scott is a unique person” who listens without conditions, and prioritizes compassion and patience which is key to building trust, said Goldiet.
He said, highlighting Trebel’s work was important because celebrating good people inspires others. Goldiet added that his friend’s message of peace, love and understanding is something the world needs.
Treble was “touched and honoured” by the award, and said working to promote inclusion was the highlight of his career as he was able to meet and learn from folks from all over the world.
“I really believe in the importance of this work,” Treble said, adding that, as Magassa often told him, diversity exists but inclusion needs to be created. He noted that listening, accepting criticism and collaborating with the community is the foundation for building better relationships with those who mistrust police.
Trebel, who comes from an RCMP family, began his career in Gold River in 1987 after university. Five years later, he moved to the Sidney detachment and then joined the Saanich Police Department in 1994.
Now, 34 years later, he’s preparing to retire in January and looking back on the many roles he held over his career, including patrol, to family protection unit, to major crimes, community engagement, and the GVPDAC where he worked to find ways for police to connect with the community.
Trebel noted this work is even more important in 2020, and that police need to understand that a fear of law enforcement exists in Greater Victoria, and that the uniform and weapons are “barriers for communication.” Interacting with the community in plainclothes, attending cultural events when invited, and making connections are important steps to humanize police, adding that he’s confident that those coming after him understand the importance of the work.
Chief Scott Green of the Saanich Police Department noted that hat police departments across the region will continue to benefit from the relationships that Treble fostered and his commitment to organizational improvement.
He added that this wasn’t Treble’s first time being recognized for his outstanding work. Since 2015, he’s received the Rotary Community Leadership Award, the Governor General of Canada’s Police Exemplary Service Medal and was recognized by the Greater Victoria Area Police Chiefs in 2019 “for his tireless work in promoting diversity and … fostering genuine trust-based relationships.”
Treble plans to continue working with the GVPDAC behind the scenes, and volunteering his time locally and abroad.
Those interested in learning more about AHAVI can visit ahavi.ca.