The RCMP wants to be more accountable, said Chief Superintendent Peter Clark.
That’s the message Clark delivered to the 20 people who turned out for the city’s second police force review Thursday evening.
It was a dismal turnout compared to August’s meeting, which drew almost 70 people even though that event had been re-scheduled twice.
Similar issues arose from the audience Thursday. People wanted to know how officers who have broken the law are punished; why the Yukon doesn’t better integrate RCMP into the community and how commanders deal with issues of racism and alcoholism?
There was a distinct cynicism from many in the audience.
Taxi driver Ken Giam said he’ll never trust another police officer after he was taken to court by a cop because of a traffic violation he says he never made.
Angelune Drouin wanted to know what would happen after the review committee had compiled everyone’s comments.
Would they actually be implemented?
The committee has been listening to people’s concerns, said Clark.
“Hopefully the public can see that we’re committed to accountability to the missteps we’ve taken,” he said.
“I’ve been asked if the RCMP are ready to do things differently.
“I’ll tell you that if there’s ever been a time to do things significantly differently, it’s now.”
Clark no longer wants the police force to investigate itself when serious incidents occur.
He’s already started relying on municipal police in Alberta to investigate cops in the Yukon and has invited the RCMP Commission for Public Complaints to comment on certain cases.
Ideally, no police should ever investigate the RCMP, he said.
And the force will commit to better training its staff to work in the Yukon.
“We not only need proper training, but supervisors need to be engaged and hold officers to account.”
Since the review was convened in April, the eight-person committee has had 40 meetings with different groups around the territory.
They expect to release a report on their findings in late December. (Vivian Belik)