Meadow Lake RCMP encourage formation of police commission

by Phil Ambroziak

The people of Meadow Lake could soon have a stronger say in how the RCMP focuses its efforts throughout the community.

During the Sept. 24 meeting of Meadow Lake city council, Meadow Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Tim Korman suggested the formation of a police commission or police board to deal with monthly RCMP reports and other policing issues.

“This would fall in line with what other cities are currently doing,” Korman said. “It would also eliminate our monthly council visit, but would rather focus on more input from the city in the area of policing and policing priorities and concerns. It would give us a smaller setting to discuss the issues and allow us to get more in-depth.”

Mayor Gary Vidal supported Korman’s recommendation.

“This is one of the things I had on my own, personal to-do list this fall,” Vidal said. “After the election, when we set up our new positions with the new council, this is something we may take on.”

In a subsequent interview, Korman further explained the benefits of a police commission.

“Something like this would essentially give the city more say,” he said. “They could provide input with regard to where we should be shifting our focus in terms of certain areas. For example, if they want us to put a stronger focus on youth, I would take the necessary steps to ensure we have officer trained in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.”

Because the commission would likely meet on a monthly basis, Korman said any concerns, ideas or new suggestions that do arise can always be considered.

“There are several smaller communities throughout the province that already have similar groups in place,” Korman said. “They are usually made up of a few members of council, the RCMP, members of the community, as well as the municipal bylaw officer or anyone who has anything to do with law enforcement within the community.”
Korman also expressed his satisfaction to see Vidal champion his recommendation.

“I sent my report to council about a week prior to the meeting, so the mayor probably had time to look it over and form an opinion,” he said. “I knew it would be something difficult for this council to start up, but whether or not all four (incumbent councillors seeking re-election) get back in, hopefully we can move forward with this. Like anything, there is always room for improvement – even in policing.”

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