Over 60 residents of Meota and surrounding areas met with members of the Battlefords RCMP at the Community Centre on Thursday night at a town hall style meeting to get an update on what members of the detachment are doing to combat crime in the rural areas.
The meeting, the third in three nights for the detachment, was designed to get communities involved and get public feedback on what their concerns were pertaining to crime.
Insp. John Sutherland of the RCMP said he was pleased with the turn out and interaction during the Meota meeting.
“I thought there was some provocative dialogue tonight (Thursday),” Sutherland said. He was joined by Staff Sgt. Darcy Woolfitt and Jenna Holt of Battlefords Victim Services.
“I think it did what we set out to do and that was to create a sense of community and cohesion in the rural areas,” Sutherland said. “People are talking about the challenges they are facing and they want to know what we (RCMP) are doing to address those challenges."
Among the areas of concern that were discussed on Thursday were property crime, ways that residents can protect themselves from theft and the right to protect one’s property.
Sutherland also discussed proactive approaches the detachment is taking as pertaining to crime prevention such as classroom visits to schools, ongoing member training and community involvement.
Tim LaFreniere, mayor of Metinota, said he was happy with the level of interest the community showed in the meeting especially when the RCMP opened up the floor to questions from those in attendance.
“Listening to the concerns from residents about the issues that are affecting them today is quite different that those that would have been asked three years ago,” LaFreniere said. “I’m relieved that most of the questions asked were about things that in my mind are nuisance calls, as opposed to the type of concerns that impose fear.”
Questions from the crowd varied from boating safety, the legalization of cannabis and reckless use of golf carts in resort areas.
Sherry Jimmy, Reeve of the R.M. said she was pleased with the community engagement.
“We have been working with the R.M.’s of the area along with the resort villages and First Nations to establish a better policing relationship over the years that will better serve the rate payers,” Jimmy said. “Meetings such as these serve as a springboard to achieve those goals in the future.”
On Twitter: @battlefordsNOW
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