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Hamilton Police Services Board welcomes new member

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Hamilton Police Services Board welcomes new member

The Hamilton Police Services Board (HPSB) has appointed a new member and named a new vice-chair at their October meeting held Thursday (Oct. 15).

Board member Frank Bennick has been elected to serve as the board’s vice chair until the end of 2020 and Mel Athulathmudali has been appointed to serve as a member.

He holds one of three spots on the seven-member board that are appointed by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor in Council. His term is effective for three years.

According to a press release issued Friday (Oct. 16), Athulathmudali has been actively involved with many local non-profit organizations, including St Joseph’s Villa, Centre3 and the Well, Hamilton’s LGTBQ Wellness Centre.

Athulathmudali currently runs a catering business but has worked in the airline and hospitality industry for decades and has taught at a local private school.

He was born in Sri Lanka, raised and educated in Hamilton and is a member of the LGBTQ2IA+ community.

“He currently lives in Hamilton with his partner, Philip and Stuart the Airedale,” the press release said.

The HPSB has been criticized for its lack of diversity in recent years, especially following the violence at Hamilton’s Pride event in 2019 at Gage Park when alt-right protestors showed up and violence broke out.

The response from police and the board to the violence has been widely condemned by members of the community and prompted an independent review of what took place, The review ultimately found police response was ‘inadequate.’

Athulathmudali replaces the board’s former vice-chair, Don MacVicar, whose term ended last month.

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