A Yellowknife resident is up in arms about the RCMP parking their vehicles in explicitly “no parking” zones outside of the NWT courthouse.
On July 26, the resident, who does not wish to be named, sent photos to Yellowknifer and expressed his frustrations about the errant parking of the vehicle.
The resident noted the RCMP pickup truck parked behind the courthouse at around 3 p.m. on July 26, with engine and lights off with no officer in sight.
“The Courthouse parking lot features all the necessary space to park official vehicles,” stated the resident in an email.
“There is no reason to spill onto the fire lane. More specifically, the fire lane is there for safety reasons, and this is a blatant disregard of basic safety rules.”
The person went on to note the relationship between police forces and citizens are straining throughout the country and they “would hate to see relations between peace officers and citizens — and street people — deteriorate.”
Yellowknifer contacted the RCMP and a communications officer said officers will only park in these zones when necessary.
“RCMP follow motor vehicle rules of the road, and respect emergency access and ‘no-parking’ zones, except when determined necessary during an intervention and/or emergency situation,” stated Marie York-Condon, communications officer with RCMP G Division.
She wrote that the main reason why the officer parked in the lane is because of the ongoing renovations to the courthouse, which has affected regular operations when transporting prisoners.
“When transporting a prisoner, the member undertakes a risk assessment, including safety of officer, prisoner and public. It may be determined that access to a restricted area is required for the best option to transport the prisoner.”
According to the Department of Justice, renovations are still taking place.
“The cell renovation project has been delivered in a manner that it would be reducing impact to operations as much as possible,” said Sue Glowach, senior communications adviser for the Department of Justice.
“The cell renovation included an accommodation of an RCMP vehicle next to the mobile cell currently in place under the parking area outside the courthouse.”
Glowach added that it is ultimately up to the judgement of the RCMP to transport prisoners as safely as they see fit.
Renovations or not, the resident is still concerned about the example being set by the RCMP.
“Ultimately, we expect an exemplary behavior from officers in position of authority,” they said.
“They must lead by example, and this isn’t an example to set. Unfortunately, incivility already runs pretty high in our town, and such habits do nothing to dampen it.”