Eastern Arctic community and Canadian police to form safety committee

RCMP V Division Supt. Hilton Smee speaks at a news conference in Iqaluit July 28 about a shooting in Kimmirut. (Daniel MacIsaac/CBC)Community meeting held Friday in wake of detachment shooting

The Nunavut Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the  community of Kimmirut plan to form a safety committee, following a community meeting held Friday to address concerns about the number of shootings in the hamlet in the last six years.

Kimmirut is a predomenanty Inuit community of approximately 455 people located in southern Baffin Island in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

The most recent incident happened  about a week ago when a man shot at the detachment while two police officers tried to protect a young woman inside.

About 10 residents stopped the gunman and secured the weapon until an Emergency Response Team from Iqaluit arrived. No one was hurt.

Kimmirut’s mayor Qinnuajuaq Pudlat said it was a very emotional meeting with many suggestions being made.

“Our hamlet council meeting with visiting officials went longer then we planned,” he said in Inuktitut. “People in Kimmirut were eager to meet together, too, and were waiting for us to start the public meeting. Our gym was almost full with residents.”

He said at the next council meeting they will discuss what was said and talk about forming a safety committee.

Pudlat also said the community wants outside help after the latest shooting incident.

“We need more support in aftermath experience, to have more people from outside of our community, for example, mental health case supporters to help us deal,” he said. “Sometimes it’s very hard to deal with some problems.”

This is not the first incident in the community where police were the target.

In March, a man fired at two police residences while the officers and their families slept inside, and in 2007, Const. Douglas Scott was shot and killed while responding to an impaired driving complaint.

On Friday, community members, RCMP and the hamlet council met to talk about the eight shooting incidents that have taken place since 2006.

“This is really about the activity, the dangerous actions of a number of people within this community towards the police officers,” said police Supt. Hilton Smee.

The new plan calls for a committee to focus on firearm safety, stopping the bootlegging of alcohol and more patrolling.

In the meantime, two additional officers are being posted to the community, including a new detachment commander. Usually there only two officers stationed in the hamlet.

Smee said the additional staff will stay until police feel the risk to officers has been reduced. He said that could take several months.

Meanwhile, a healing ceremony is being planned for the community.

Related Link:

Policing in North has its own challenges, says criminologist, CBC News

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