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COMMUNITY REPORT: Violent offenders could be roaming Norman Wells, mayor says

Lli Goline from the air, where a mysterious spike in the price of gasoline reversed itself within a few days. NNSL file photo

Residents of Norman Wells are concerned that the territorial government didn’t notify them about at least one violent offender possibly present in the community. 

“A couple of days ago somebody was parachuted into here. We don't know if he was sent to Norman Wells for rehab or if he was on his way to another community. But he's here. He might be a violent offender but he’s not from Norman Wells. We don't know if he was en route to another community or this was his end destination,” Mayor Frank Pope told NNSL Media on Friday. 

“If they're going to parachute people into the community the least the Department of Justice could do is communicate with (us) or with the RCMP. The RCMP were unaware of this person coming into the community.” 

The Department of Justice hasn't told us about violent offenders in the community, said mayor Frank Pope. NNSL file photo

The mayor added that another offender from Fort Good Hope, Colten McNeely, convicted of manslaughter in January, might also be in the Sahtu town. 

“His lawyer applied for bail to send him somewhere. He might be here. (The government) should talk to us first.” 

NNSL Media has reached out to the Department of Justice and the RCMP for comment on the issue. 

Norman Wells’ anxieties come after the GNWT announced this week that some inmates deemed low-risk would be released from prison to reduce the risk of the novel coronavirus spreading into detention facilities. 

RELATED COVERAGE: COVID-19: Temporary release for some low-risk inmates at NWT jails

On the possibility that released inmates could be stranded in remote communities because of a lack of outward bound flights, a senior official with a Sahtu airline said that wasn’t in his purview.  

“I don't have any information on prisoners. That’s up to the communities,” said Kyle Newhook, operations manager with North-Wright Airlines, based in Norman Wells. 

North-Wright has suspended all passenger flights and now runs only chartered and cargo flights, Newhook said. 

As members of the Norman Wells community continue to hunker down amid the coronavirus pandemic, they’re still looking for answers on who could be in the town. 

“We're trying to find out what the Department of Justice is doing. We're picking up a lot of what we know from the rumour mill. We're in the dark,” said Pope.