Close to 25 residents in Kugluktuk called upon the police to be more responsive to complaints as they protested outside the RCMP detachment early Wednesday afternoon.
For about half an hour, community members held signs and chanted “serve and protect.” A petition was started as well. It’s expected to be delivered to mayor and council.
“From what I heard there’s a petition to get all these RCMP members replaced because they were called numerous times in the past how many weeks (about) domestic violence, DUI, child abuse and stuff like that but the RCMP here don’t take those calls seriously,” said Quentin Norberg, who organized Wednesday’s protest.
Norberg and Ron Tologanak, another Kugluktuk resident who attended the demonstration, feel that crime in their community has been worse since liquor restrictions were lifted via a plebiscite that took effect in mid-December.
The RCMP’s statistics, previously provided to Nunavut News, indicate that officers have been busier. There were 143 more police files relating to liquor in Kugluktuk in the first five months of 2019 than in the first five months of 2018. No immediate response was available from the Mounties in regards to Wednesday’s protest.
Norberg and Tologanak, who have both spent most of their lives in the community, said they know of reported incidents that have not resulted in any response by the RCMP. Norberg said he fears for his children’s safety.
“What is it going to take for the RCMP to pull up their pants, tighten their belt buckle and go to work and do their job?” Norberg asked. “They took an oath to serve the community that they’re assigned to … they don’t take their calls seriously.”
Tologanak added that other residents have been confiding in him that their complaints to the RCMP have not resulted in action. A call he made regarding an erratic driver didn’t get the RCMP on the streets, according to Tologanak.
“Nothing happens,” he said. “There’s some kids out there getting drunk … it’s alcohol, I think, that’s the main reason for all this happening. (The police) don’t want to do anything with drunk people, I guess.”
Kugluktuk has a bylaw officer who recently left on vacation and “it’s really noticeable when he’s out of town,” said Tologanak.
Mayor Ryan Nivingalok told Nunavut News in June that liquor has been causing more issues in town.
“Some people have to remember that they have to learn how to consume their alcohol and drink responsibly,” Nivingalok said at the time.