Nunavut RCMP aims to build trust with residents in Gjoa Haven

'Policing is not always easy, there's murders and suicides and everything under the sun basically, but you have to make the time to see the good side of people.'

In the past year there have been 2 stabbing deaths in the hamlet of 1,500

The RCMP detachment in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. Officers have had students tour the detachment and officers regularly drop by hamlet meetings to give reports and answer questions. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

In Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, RCMP have started holding open houses to discuss issues and build a better relationship with the community.

"I just think having an open conversation about those things builds more trust between the community and the RCMP," said Cpl. Josh Dubois.

"And it helps people build a sense of responsibility for their community as well."

In the past year, there have been two stabbing deaths in the hamlet of 1,500. Dubois called it a rough year for the community.

He said to get to the root of some of these issues, the community needs to be involved.

"I would just like to see more members of the community expressing what their concerns are, regardless of what those concerns are," said Dubois.

The first open house wasn't well attended, but Dubois is making it his mission to expand his reach. 

The officers have invited students to tour the detachment and RCMP officers regularly drop by hamlet meetings to give reports and answer questions.

'See the good side of people'

David Stockley, Gjoa Haven's senior administrative officer, said the detachment was short staffed until about six months ago, when a third permanent officer arrived. However, he is quick to add the officers have been very engaged.

'We're all human and you have to take the time to be human and that's a big part of policing up here in the North,' says retired RCMP sergeant Jimmy Akavak. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

"The people that are here now are great," he said.

He said a lot of crime in the community rises out of difficult conditions, such as a lack of housing and not enough access to mental health professionals.

Jimmy Akavak, a retired RCMP sergeant, said community engagement is an important part of policing in Nunavut. 

"We're all human and you have to take the time to be human and that's a big part of policing up here in the North," he said, adding he feels officers need to get out there in the communities they serve to meet people.

"Policing is not always easy, there's murders and suicides and everything under the sun basically, but you have to make the time to see the good side of people."

Cpl. Dubois is planning for the next open house, which he hopes more people will attend.