Yukon government to decide on auxiliary constable funding

The year is starting with good news for the Yukon: the return of the RCMP auxiliary constable program.

The year is starting with good news for the Yukon: the return of the RCMP auxiliary constable program.

On Dec. 22 the RCMP did a complete about-face and reinstated the volunteer program it put on hold in February 2016 over safety concerns.

Auxiliary constables are unarmed trained volunteers who assist RCMP members in their duties.

In the Yukon that meant assisting with check stops and going on ride-alongs or helping with public safety campaigns.

The revamped program gives provinces and territories the option to use a new tiered system.

Auxiliary constables can participate in lighter community policing services in tier 1 to more intensive work in tiers 2 and 3, such as the ability to take part in general patrols and check stops.

It will be up to the Yukon government to choose which tier to fund.

Currently there are 15 auxiliary constables, 10 of which are fully trained and five who will be trained depending on the tier chosen.

For Yukon Senator Dan Lang, who’s been lobbying to keep the program, the RCMP’s moratorium “came out of nowhere.”

“They went through this very long and drawn out procedure,” Lang told the News on Tuesday.

“It took a lot of time and effort from the RCMP to come out basically with what was already in place.”

When the program was put on hold last year, RCMP cited safety concerns.

“Because they are uniformed and often work alongside their police counterparts the potential for danger exists,” Whitehorse RCMP’s Insp. Archie Thompson told the News in April 2016.

“Incidents where uniform officers have been randomly targeted, along with the shooting of an auxiliary constable in Alberta last year, demonstrated the need for increased vigilance.”

The RCMP’s national division says it’s still working on the final design of the uniforms, but it will include the word “volunteer.”

For Lang, because the provinces and territories cover the costs, and auxiliary constables are covered by the worker health and safety compensation board, there were few risks to the RCMP to begin with.

Auxiliary constables can be especially useful in smaller communities for newly posted officers, he said.

“If they have somebody who is a local and volunteer and is there able to do ride-alongs, they can learn so much about the community in a short period of time,” he said.

Yukon RCMP Superintendent Brian Jones told the News the force would ask the Yukon government to allow up to tier 3 auxiliary constables.

“We will have discussions with the Yukon government and they will have discussions among themselves about what level they’re prepared to support in terms of cost,” he said.

While the auxiliary constables are not paid, there are costs associated with uniforms, training and insurance coverage.

“I know there has been strong support across all levels of government in the Yukon for the program,” Jones said.

But he was quick to say the RCMP doesn’t rely on auxiliary constables to provide core policing services.

“They augment what we can do,” he said.

Before the moratorium, auxiliary constables helped with operational patrols – from check stops to being able to ride with the regular members in police vehicles and responding to calls for service.

-With files from Ashley Joannou

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Child Development Centre marks 40 years of service

CDC now serves families throughout the territory

Triple J’s expands offerings with new skin care line

The products feature Canadian ingredients and environmentally-friendly packaging

Relatives of pedestrian struck in 2001 urge change after latest fatality at the intersection

‘I don’t know what the solution is, but I just think something needs to be done’

Whitehorse officials promise improvements to cycling routes

Commuters say more focus on the downtown is needed

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Arctic Sports Inter-School Championship draws athletes from as far as Juneau

The three-day event included more than 300 participants from kindergarten to Grade 12

Access road to Telegraph Creek now open

Ministry has spent $300K to date on work to clear rockslide

Freedom Trails responds to lawsuit

A statement of defence was to the Yukon Supreme Court on Nov. 19.

Whitehorse RCMP seeking suspects after robbery at Yukon Inn

Robbery took place in early hours of Nov. 27, with suspects armed with a knife and “large stick”

Yukonomist: Your yogurt container’s dirty secret

You should still recycle, but recycling one might be giving you a false sense of environmental virtue

History Hunter: New book tells old story of nursing in the Yukon

Author Amy Wilson was a registered nurse in the Yukon from 1949 to 1951

Jack Hulland wins 2019 Yukon Elementary School Hockey Tournament

The one-day tournament featured nearly a dozen teams from Whitehorse, Dawson City and Teslin

City news, briefly

Some of the decisions that were made at the Nov. 25 Whitehorse city council meeting

Most Read