The Invisible Me was produced by the Toronto Police Service with the direction of the Toronto Police Service Disabilities Community Consultative Committee as a training tool for police officers. BIST Executive Director Melissa Vigar has been on the committee since its beginning in 2016, and currently serves as its Civilian Chair.
The Committee was assembled in 2016, to help strengthen partnerships within the diverse communities of Torontonians living with disabilities. The committee is comprised of police officers of different ranks, as well as members, service providers and advocates from the community. In its early years the Committee has directly informed the Service in areas such as policy and service delivery best practices, and has actively participated in Toronto Police training and education initiatives.
One such project was the development of Invisible Me. The vision for this project was to serve as a means of normalizing or demystifying disability for its viewers. It was created as a training tool for Toronto Police Officers by Corporate Communications Video Production Section, but the Committee wanted it to be more an anti-stigma resource that targeted viewers on a personal level, rather than an instructional, ‘how to’ type of video. The hope was that officers viewing the video would gain the understanding that they had a lot more in common with people with disabilities than they have differences. The result being that our Officers would be more likely to ‘look beyond’ any disability a person might have, and see the person first.
Once complete, the video was viewed by officers Service-wide, and feedback from Service members suggested that it was very much accomplishing its intended purpose. Additionally, we found that the video was being very well received by our partners, many of whom were requesting copies so that they could show it in their communities. Our little project had outgrown its original intent, and will now be viewed on a much larger scale.