From Dennis Cooley, Ph.D., Deputy Minister Department of Justice
The Review of Yukon’s Police Force is committed to engaging in a process of dialogue with Yukoners to collaboratively develop solutions that will encourage trust between citizens and the RCMP. Dialogue is designed for situations in which people have different understandings or frames of reference for how they see the world.
In order to be effective, all police services must establish and maintain the confidence of those who they police. Public confidence is established in the day to day relationships that police officers develop with citizens as they perform their duties. In order to maintain public confidence, Yukoners must have the assurance their public safety priorities are met.
This Review is providing us the opportunity to engage in dialogue with Yukoners.
Policing in the Yukon presents unique challenges to front-line police officers and police managements. Yukon’s geography, First Nations cultural heritage and its small population create these unique policing challenges that are not evident in other parts of Canada.
Public confidence in the RCMP, Yukon’s police service, can be compromised and citizens need a process to make their concerns known, and a mechanism that responds while promoting accountability.
The Government of Yukon, the RCMP and CYFN have committed to working in partnership to ensure that Yukoners’ expectations of their police service be met.
Chief Superintendent Peter Clark, Commanding Officer, RCMP "M" Division
The RCMP is recognized throughout Yukon, Canada and internationally, as a world-class police force. The success of the Force rests largely with RCMP employees who are part of the fabric of every community in which they reside and serve. They are active community members and respected role models who have been carefully selected and provided with the most extensive training programs in Canada - programs which are often adopted for use by other Canadian police services and other countries around the world.
Recently, the public trust in Yukon has been shaken by situations involving allegations of misconduct against a few officers. Some suggest that services being delivered by the RCMP no longer meet the needs of Yukon. Others feel that the current structure of police accountability is not serving the RCMP or the people of Yukon.
The RCMP is an adaptive organization which recognizes the importance of transparency as well as accountability. Employees at all levels are committed to continuous improvement, and when mistakes occur, police leaders are committed to acknowledging disappointment, holding individuals accountable and learning from the experience.
"M" Division is pleased to participate in a process which will respond to the concerns of Yukoners. This includes dialogue with citizens, organizations and government. It incorporates independent research and local expertise to recommend how the police can improve delivery of services in Yukon.
Simone Arnold, Manager of Justice, Council of Yukon First Nations
Yukon First Nation communities experienced a range of emotions as we learned of troublesome incidents involving the RCMP. The relationship between the RCMP and Yukoners has been tested and the connection between community and policing needs to be revitalized.
The Review of Yukon’s Police Force is the opening step in a sequence of change in how the RCMP provides services to the Yukon and how they integrate into our communities. The Review is an opportunity for an improved relationship between RCMP and the First Nations people of the Yukon. This Review is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue; a dialogue that will continue through to implementation of changes that Yukon citizens will notice.
The RCMP and Government of Yukon recognize the need to work with First Nations people in respect of our culture, traditions and strong beliefs. As a Co-Chair to the Committee, their commitment is evident and I encourage all First Nations people to come forward and share your experiences, tell us what you really believe and provide advice on the change you feel will benefit Yukon citizens.
We may not be able to return to the old days that our Elders knew and loved but we certainly can create a new way of working together to keep people safe and secure.