As a means of moving Meadow Lake’s crime and community safety strategy forward, three city councillors recently North Battleford to learn new options.
Kim Chiverton, Tom Harrison, and Glen Winkler recently met with Herb Sutton, North Battleford’s Community Safety Coordinator and RCMP liaison, to gain some insight on the initiatives the city is running to help reduce crime. Sutton has been working in this role for the last five years.
The overarching subjects throughout discussion included community engagement, addressing underlying issues like homelessness and complex families, and various programs, like Eyes that Care which assist with crime reduction.
Chiverton is also a member of Meadow Lake’s Citizens on Patrol Program, and has worked in the past to recruit members. He said the meeting was very fruitful, as Hutton was forthcoming with a great deal of insight.
“A lot of their issues parallel our own circumstances,” Chiverton said during the Feb. 12 council meeting. “He (Hutton) talked about various initiatives, but what they struggle with is the fact that many of these programs are reactive, he said they still have to get to the base of [the problems].”
Chiverton said North Battleford is working to engage all levels of government to try to find more ways of dealing with crime and public safety, but also creating a sense of community in the process.
“[Hutton] said people that know one another tend to trust one another,” Chiverton said. “They’ve assigned mini-communities throughout North Battleford, within that they’ve been going out to try to draw these smaller communities together, bringing people from council, RMCP and various other city groups together in an informal manner just to talk and to become aware of one another.”
Winkler echoed Chiverton’s positive sentiment from the meeting, and said council should discuss soon if they’d like to follow a similar path.
“They’ve got the experience that we could learn from, if we want to spend the time and effort to address this, I think it would be worth listening to somebody who’s be at it for five years,” he said. “They’ve learned what to do, what not to do. My recommendation is that we consider if this is a direction we want to go, because there’s a really good resource right there.”
Council’s consensus on a likely next step is to have Sutton come speak to various regional community leaders and organizations, such as RCMP, the city’s community safety officer, the RM, Flying Dust First Nations.
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