Documentary resonates with Toronto police

Published May 1, 2006

Anglican Video has signed a contract with the Toronto Police Service allowing it to use Topahdewin: The Gladys Cook Story for a three-year period as a resource for training its officers.

The Toronto Police Service, one of Canada’s largest police forces, has sought and been granted permission to use an award-winning documentary by Anglican Video as a resource for its training program for city police officers.

Topahdewin: The Gladys Cook Story is a powerful film about an aboriginal Anglican woman who survived a damaged childhood to become a prominent drug and alcohol abuse counselor. The one-hour documentary uses archival footage, still photography and 13 years of interviews with Ms. Cook, now 74, in which she talks about her journey of despair, rediscovery of faith and her work with native women, addicts, prisoners and survivors of abuse.

Filmmaker Lisa Barry said the Toronto police human relations department, through a training officer, Sgt. Mark Fehr, had made the request to use the video for its training program. “He said that he and his group had found the program very powerful and in particular, want to use the historic aspects of the program. They hope that it will raise awareness among police officers around many issues that aboriginal people are dealing with.” Ms. Barry said that Anglican Video has signed a contract with the police force, allowing them to use the film for a three-year period. The force declined to comment on how the video will be used.

She said that the video has also been purchased for use by some correctional facilities and social work programs, aside from being screened at various healing circles across Canada.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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