Nova Scotia appointed Alonzo Wright, KC (King’s counsel), as director of the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) for the province last month.
Alonzo Wright is a senior crown attorney with the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service. Wright is a graduate of Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law and has been a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society since 1995, serving on numerous committees.
SiRT provides civilian-led oversight of policing by investigating serious incidents involving police, independent of both government and police. Wright was appointed on Jan. 9.
"The Serious Incident Response Team is an organization that's been developed to investigate the inactions or actions of police and their doings. It involves serious incidences where police are alleged to be in either domestic violence, sexual assault, serious bodily harm, or broken bones or stitches," said Wright.
Wright's team in Halifax consists of four investigators and a support person. The team has the power to elicit services from the RCMP and Halifax Regional Police Service and other police agencies to get their support.
Wright said his goal is to make the organization more transparent and is currently focusing on outreach to make the community aware of SiRt's initiatives.
"It's about protecting the public and hearing their concerns when it comes to a police involvement of a serious nature, and taking those concerns and deciding if it fits our mandate, and investigating those concerns, and providing a service to the community that can trust," he added.
He added that SiRT is important as it plays a watchdog role for authorities and policing agencies.
"It's not that we're out to get anybody or anything like that. It's just to have that support in the community that says, look, there is somebody that these agencies have to answer to. It's important to also understand that myself as the first African Nova Scotia director of this program, to sit in this chair is historic and it doesn't go unrecognized," said Wright.
Listen to the full interview below: