Vanessa Ambtman-Smith. Photo from Facebook.

Police Board Gets Indigenous Member

An Indigenous health-care advocate has been named the newest member of the expanded London Police Services Board.

Vanessa Ambtman-Smith was appointed to a two-year term on the board by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services earlier this week. Since 2014, Ambtman-Smith has served as the Indigenous health lead for the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). She has a masters certificate in health leadership from Royal Roads University and was a member of the mayor’s advisory panel on poverty.

Ambtman-Smith and Councillor Mo Salih, who was appointed to a one-year term on the board by city council in October, will be sworn in on December 12. Both will then attend their first meeting as board members on December 14.

“I am very pleased to have to have Ms. Ambtman-Smith and Councillor Salih join the London Police Services Board. Their backgrounds, professional knowledge, and history of community engagement will make them valuable members of the board,” said Board Chair Jeannette Eberhard in a statement released Thursday.

The appointments of Ambtman-Smith and Salih bring the total number of board members from five to seven. Council had asked the province to increase the number of members in May, as municipalities with populations of more than 300,000 are permitted to have a seven member board under the Ontario Police Services Act.

The civilian body responsible for governing London police will now consist of three city council members, including Mayor Matt Brown, three provincial appointees, and one council appointed member.

The board had requested the province appoint an Indigenous member to represent Aboriginal people within the city.

Ambtman-Smith’s term will run until November 28, 2019.