Skip to content

Letting them off the hook, if they learn

Community event teaches road safety and gives second chances
Const. Matt Hope dons RCMP gear on a young Kelsey Pissuk at a road safety event in Rankin Inlet. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

Those ticketed for operating an all-terrain vehicle without a helmet or similar infractions earlier this summer had a chance to see their fines waived by attending a road safety event in Rankin Inlet Thursday, July 7.

“We noticed earlier in the year — and the council noticed — that there weren’t a lot of people wearing their helmets,” said Rankin Inlet RCMP Sgt. Benjamin Comley.

“We thought that was a priority, so we wanted a way to promote ATV safety and helmet safety without being overly punitive. We didn’t want to ticket the whole community. We’d just rather them come to an event and be able to learn and promote safety.”

Those with tickets on the books were able to show up for a presentation on road safety, as well as door prizes, to have them waived. Comley said about 15 people had their tickets waived.

“I would say we had a turnout rate around 50 per cent from the tickets,” said Comley.

The RCMP had held open houses before, but this was the detachment’s first go at an “informal, pre-charge alternative measures program,” as he put it.

“I don’t think it’s a completely unique idea,” said Comley. “I know events like this have been held in other locations. I guess it’s just one of those ideas trying to figure out how to help the community stay safe and build relationships at the same time. It just came to me one day, I suppose.”

The event was hosted by the RCMP, bylaw and community justice and also offered a chance for people to get assistance with their firearms licence application.

Barbara Tartak, a member of the community justice committee, agreed that the event went well.

“It promotes safe driving and abiding by the rules that are in place for ATV driving in the community, respecting the bylaws and safety all around,” she said.

She looks forward to the next one.

“I’m just very thankful for this opportunity,” said Tartak. “It pulls us together as different groups. Instead of being in our own little corners, we pull together as community groups in promoting community wellness and safety. That’s what we want to see.”

Jaclyn Samok and Kelsey Pissuk pose for a photo during the road safety event. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo