Sask. RCMP to host town halls in Biggar and Perdue this week

Saskatchewan RCMP are hosting town hall meetings for detachments at Biggar and Perdue next week.

RCMP official says Biggar meeting not in response to Gerald Stanley verdict

Staff Sgt. Rob Embree said the RCMP commanding officer asked each of the detachments host a town hall meeting where members of the public can ask questions and offer ideas about community safety issues. (CBC News)

Saskatchewan RCMP are hosting town hall meetings for detachments at Biggar and Perdue next week.

"Members of the public can come and ask questions, and offer ideas about community safety issues," said Staff Sgt. Rob Embree with the RCMP.

Embree said these meetings are not a response to the verdict in the Gerald Stanley trial. Stanley was found not guilty after Colten Boushie was shot and killed on his farm in the Biggar area in August 2016.

However, Embree said he expects the meetings will tackle issues like rural property crime and response times.

RCMP members at the town hall meetings will provide community members with some initiatives that are meant to deal with concerns surrounding those issues.

"We will obviously address the questions as they come … we're here to serve all the people of Saskatchewan," said Embree.

Former Justice Minister Gord Wyant announced the creation of a new Protection and Response Team back in August 2017, aimed to combat rural crime. The team consists of 258 officers, and expanded the powers of conservation officers and commercial vehicle enforcement officers to include the ability to arrest and detain. 

Embree said the RCMP will highlight their own initiatives — like its Crime Reduction Team — to combat rural crime at the meetings as well. 

Embree said that 55 communities have expressed an interest in setting up or reviving the rural crime watch or citizens on patrol team.

"We can honestly say we could not be successful without the support and involvement of our communities, here in Saskatchewan, where the geographic challenges can be significant," said Embree.

"We do not have the resources everywhere in rural Saskatchewan. We have a set number of police officers, and sometimes those detachments are going to run short and that's why we're taking steps."

Embree said there will be town hall meetings for all 87 detachments in the province, and he expects all meetings to be held over the course of the year.

The town hall for the Biggar detachment will be held Monday, March 5 at 7 p.m. Perdue, Sask. will be holding an RCMP town hall meeting on Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m.

Perdue is located just over 60 kilometres west of Saskatoon, while Biggar is just over 90 kilometres west of Saskatoon.