RCMP and Kaska women sign historic protocol

Agreement cited as example of best practices whole country could benefit from

Watson lake police and women's group commit to work together

Ann Maje Raider and RCMP commanding officer Peter Clark at ceremony to mark protocol.(CBC)

 The RCMP's commanding officer in Yukon believes a protocol developed between the Liard Aboriginal Women's Society and the Watson Lake detachment is an example of best practices by the force.

The protocol commits the Aboriginal Women’s Society and the Watson Lake detachment to work together on law enforcement and crime-prevention issues.

Chief Superintendent Peter Clark said he's distributing copies of the document within the RCMP.

The Liard First Nation's justice director is also praising the agreement. May Stewart said the community will benefit through the police and women's groups working together.

 "We didn't have a good relationship with the RCMP within our community and this will just bridge the gap, we can start communicating and building a relationship and trust and just be able to talk with the RCMP with ease," Stewart said.

But two of the key people involved in developing the protocol said that process alone has improved relations within the community.

Ann Maje Raider with the Kaska women's group said open and honest conversations between the community and Watson Lake RCMP officers were the catalyst that brought the two sides together.

"We wouldn't have had that connection to each other. For us, we've seen the person behind the uniform," Maje Raider said.

Sgt. Cam Lockwood heads the Watson Lake detachment. He said encouraging local RCMP officers to become full members of the community is making a difference.

"You know it's nice to be driving down the road and you see somebody you wave at them, you know them on a first name basis, so it's really put a more welcoming effect so myself and my other members feel like they're more welcome in the community," Lockwood said.

Lockwood said the result is that the police can be more effective in helping make Watson Lake a safer place. Maje Raider added the protocol is historically significant and expects other communities will work on similar agreements.