MEADOW LAKE - As part of Meadow Lake RCMP’s gang suppression and violence reduction strategy, improving communication with the communities we serve has been essential over the last year since the strategy was formally implemented. This helps the public protect themselves and be aware of issues around their own homes. The RCMP enjoys a strong partnership with our local media outlets and have implemented using the Saskatchewan Crime Watch bulletins frequently as well.
Further, keeping communication lines direct and open with elected officials allows community leaders to work in tandem with the RCMP to solve the gangs and guns problem. Mayor Seymour and council have participated in a Str8 Up gang presentation and offered any supports available to the RCMP in attempt to decrease overall violence which has been invaluable.
Meadow Lake RCMP have worked extremely hard in tough conditions throughout 2021 with their sole focus to combat the gang/gun violence and are pleased to see a significant overall reduction.
From October 1, 2020, to March 15, 2021, Meadow Lake RCMP responded to 66 firearms complaints. In the same time frame in 2021 to 2022 RCMP have received 30 firearms complaints. Any level of gun violence is unacceptable and the Meadow Lake RCMP Detachment is unfortunately still busy dealing with violent occurrences, while at the same time noting that this reduction in gun calls is welcome progress.
A focused formal enforcement project led by North Battleford Provincial GIS was put in place in early 2021 to dismantle one of the gangs involved in the violence and has resulted in the following convictions:
Brendan Yew, 27, was sentenced to 871 days in prison for possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Christopher Nolan, 21, was sentenced to 729 days for careless use of a firearm. Raheem Hagan was sentenced to 1,825 days for possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Christopher Ernest, 23, was sentenced to 693 days for flight from police/carrying a concealed weapon.
In the last 365 days, as of March 15, the detachment has managed 7,512 files of all levels of severity from frauds to homicides.
During the majority of 2021, the detachment was functioning severely understaffed for several reasons, COVID certainly played a role. For lengthy periods of time, the detachment was attempting to function at less than 50 per cent strength. Given the level of violence the members were exposed to routinely, this problem was only compounded with the stress and injuries associated to responding to these events.
During this difficult time, local RCMP members and supervisors received tremendous support from the communities we serve. Thanks to their hard work and advocacy we are seeing the new Crime Reduction Team being placed in Meadow Lake, permanent 24-hour policing, and a further bolstering to detachment resources.
2022 will certainly have its own challenges, but thanks to the community support, Meadow Lake RCMP are in a much better position to face these and improve community safety
The leadership team at the detachment want to see a return to RCMP community involvement and increasing positive interactions with the police as our numbers increase and members have the time to get engaged.