Police Coverage and Response Times Improve with MFNPS
In April of 2021, Opaskwayak became the the first Cree community, eighth detachment in Manitoba and the first northern community to use the Manitoba First Nations Police Service (MFNPS) as its primary policing service.
The MFNPS is a community-based organization that strives to meet the demands of policing with a multi-faceted approach that includes education, enforcement and crime prevention.
“Each First Nation within our service area has its own unique culture and traditions,” says MFNPS Police Chief Doug Palson. “We look to provide a professional and understanding police service that is involved and engaged at all levels.”
The change in policing has increased police coverage from three RCMP officers to 10 MFNPS members: Acting Staff Sargent Con. Lauren Melnyk, an inspector and eight officers.
“We’ve seen improved response calls, increased police presence and a willingness to work with public safety, health services and security teams,” says Derek Constant, Councillor and Business Enterprises Chairperson. “This is a positive first step in addressing the serious needs of policing for our community.”
MFNPS coverage includes a canine unit shared among the eight Manitoba detachments. The dog and its handler have already demonstrated themselves as an effective and unique resource for handling crimes in the community. Looking into the future, Opaskwayak leadership is planning to introduce a canine unit exclusive to the community.
Monthly crime statistics will soon be available on the Government Services Branch of Opaskwayak’s website.
This story was first published in the Fall 2022 Report to the Community.