The GNWT hopes to make Fort Liard a little safer with a new pilot program.
“All residents deserve to feel that their communities are safe,” Justice Minster RJ Simpson told News/North. “The GNWT recognizes that we need to support community-based organizations who understand the needs of the community and the residents that live there.”
Enter the community safety officer program. Simpson said the officers will act as liaisons and will assist in numerous ways, from public safety to assisting with overall community care. They are not empowered to enforce laws or bylaws.
“The Department of Justice provided funding for a pilot program to explore alternative approaches to community safety, outside of police enforcement,” Simpson explained. “The Community Safety Officer pilot program is a community-driven initiative intended to be a proactive, sustainable, trauma-informed, holistic approach to community safety.”
The hamlet’s senior administrative officer, John McKee was excited about the program and felt it would go along way in helping the community.
“It’s an initiative the council’s had for quite some time,” said McKee. “When they did their strategic planning for the five years, their vision statement called for a progressive, healthy, and safe community.”
The program, set to start later in 2021, is set to last three years.
The GNWT will provide necessary funding (providing over $300,000 annually) and the framework for the program, where-in Fort Liard will take on responsibility for implementing the program into the community.
When the project is finished, an evaluation will take place to determine impact within the community.
McKee hopes that other communities will have a chance to take advantage of the program after the evaluation.