Minister of Justice
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to update the House on the Department of Justice’s work to improve policing services across the Territory.
I would first like to recognize the new commanding officer of the Northwest Territories “G” Division, Chief Superintendent Wade Blake. Chief Superintendent Blake has 29 years of experience in the RCMP. Residents of Fort Smith will recognize him from his posting there from 1989-1992. He is well known for his commitment to alternative justice approaches and community policing. He is very familiar with the needs of small aboriginal communities without on-site detachments and has spent significant amounts of time working on family violence issues and crime prevention. I am confident that he is the right person to lead our Territory’s police force right now.
I would also like to thank our outgoing commanding officer, Chief Superintendent Tom Middleton, who is also retiring.
Under his leadership, we opened a new detachment in Sachs Harbour and added new officers to police Gameti and Wrigley. We created new positions to do enhanced patrols to communities without detachments. We also worked with leadership in the South Slave region to place a new police services dog and handler into Hay River. We very much appreciate Chief Superintendent Middleton’s services and wish him well in his retirement.
Policing service to small communities is a priority for this government. This year we’ve invested $32 million into the RCMP. Later in 2010, we’ll have a new kind of support for detachments; or you might call it a traditional kind of support. The former Special Constable, now Community Officer, program is coming back. The program is being updated and training starts this fall for the one-year pilot project. We have three seats in the first troop to go through Depot. These officers will enhance our detachments, help our patrols and work on restorative justice initiatives. They’ll also strengthen the role of communities in prevention and
enforcement. I can’t wait to shake the hands of the first graduates.
The Community Officer Program is an example of how we can pursue and support northern approaches to policing. With the other northern Ministers of Justice, I have repeatedly emphasized the need for a territorial policing policy framework. The three territories have decided to work together for a new model for policing in the North, one that acknowledges our uniqueness, builds on our strengths and fosters stronger relationships with our communities. We want to increase resources to support victims and develop new partnerships to combine our efforts at the community level and build community capacity. Our new commanding officer has significant experience in all of these issues and will be key to that work. I welcome him and his family back to the Northwest Territories and look forward to working with him. Mahsi.