RCMP dog handler charge with mischief
by Phil Ambroziak
Nobody is above the law, as was evidenced last week when a serving member of the RCMP was charged with one count of mischief in connection to an offence that is alleged to have occurred March 18 at Waterhen Lake First Nation.
According to police, a Waterhen Lake First Nation member contacted the Meadow Lake RCMP March 19 to report a vehicle on the reserve had its tires damaged the previous day. An investigation was started and the file was assigned to the North Battleford Provincial General Investigation Section of the RCMP. As a result of this investigation, Cpl. Shawn Irwin, a Meadow Lake resident and RCMP dog handler, was charged with mischief under $5,000 after an investigation.
Meadow Lake RCMP Staff Sgt. Tim Korman would not comment on the charge other than to confirm Irwin doesn’t report to him.
“He’s the dog handler for the entire Northwest,” Korman noted.
Irwin, 36, came to the area in 2010 after serving in Vancouver, B.C. Prior to that, he was stationed in North Battleford. He is currently on administrative duties and an internal code of conduct investigation has also been ordered. His first court appearance will be in Meadow Lake June 24.
Meanwhile, Waterhen Lake members remain optimistic about seeing a reduction in mischief and other crimes in their community thanks to the recent arrival of an RCMP officer who actually lives on the reserve.
“I don’t think the amount of vandalism or anything like that is much different than in Meadow Lake or anywhere, but now that we’ve got an RCMP officer living here, hopefully it will help settle things down,” remarked Waterhen Lake band councillor Martin Larocque.
Cst. Bill Groenen, who came to the Meadow Lake detachment from Kindersley, has been residing in a band-owned house at Waterhen Lake for more than two weeks now. Later this month he will be joined by Cst. Cam Saint Martin, who comes to the area from Stanley Mission.
“The band and I have been working on this for about three years now,” Korman said. “These officers are still entitled to time off, so there won’t be a police presence in the community 24/7, but at least officers will now be more readily available than when they’ve had to come from Meadow Lake.”
Larocque agreed, adding the arrangement has been working out fairly well so far.
“We want the RCMP to be a part of our community,” he said.