The city’s Municipal Enforcement Division will be tasked with putting a priority on speeding and illegal parking while the RCMP will be expected to maintain higher visibility downtown, if the Governance and Priorities Committee’s recommendations are passed by city council on Monday.

The committee met on April 19 to sort out what Municipal Enforcement Division (MED) and the RCMP should be focused on in 2022-‘23.

MED is being asked to put emphasis on the city’s Highway Traffic Bylaw, particularly speeding. As well, MED would also focus on the enforcement of unauthorized parking to ensure easier emergency vehicle access. Continued public engagement is another highly-ranked item.

Coun. Steve Payne asked if municipal staff will be looking out for problems more often, rather than waiting on complaints from unhappy residents.

“If there’s long-term parking on roads, it really doesn’t get dealt with until we have a complaint,” Payne said. “Also, we have unsightly lands, and we have a few hoarders around town. In my mind, this would be a safety issue for first responders, for firemen, for (the) ambulance, for police officers. Are we going to have a proactive outlook on those items?”

City manager Sheila Bassi-Kellett replied that while trying to balance modest staff resources around enforcement and making sure public safety is upheld, anything related to safety is dealt with proactively.

Priorities for Yellowknife RCMP include continuing to have a visible presence downtown — which has been a major discussion point for years — as well as crime reduction and prevention through the use of enforcement strategies on known and continuing offenders.

Coun. Shauna Morgan spoke frankly in warning against the targetting of repeat offenders without reliable evidence.

“I would just caution, and I’ve said this before and I’ll just say it publicly, that we don’t cross the line into people who have committed crimes in the past,” she said. “We’re living freely in society — we don’t want to start deciding that they’re probably going to be criminals forever, and following them forever, suspecting that they’re going to commit another crime.

“That’s not been the intention, but we just want to be really careful that we don’t make people feel that they’re being harassed,” said Morgan.

RCMP Insp. Chris Hastie, who was in attendance at the meeting, stated that continuing offenders are bound by court release conditions, parole conditions or terms of probation.

“It’s not people that have done their time or are freed of conditions,” he said.

RELATED REPORTING: Police increase downtown patrols in an effort to reduce crime

Joint objectives for MED and Yellowknife RCMP will include facilitating reconciliation with the Indigenous communities.

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