Melfort RCMP tries open house to engage with community

MELFORT — The Melfort RCMP is taking a different approach to connect with the community.

After facing low turnouts at town halls, they decided to organize an open house and barbeque instead.

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“What we found in the past, the town hall, we weren’t getting as many people as we wanted, so we thought we would try this,” said Cpl. Kyle Wyonzek, acting detachment commander of the Melfort detachment.

“In previous postings I’ve done this before. In my northern posting it seemed to be a very positive thing in the community, so why not Melfort?”

Within the first ten minutes of the June 5 event, it met its goal of having more people than the town hall. Visitors could receive a tour of the station, receive victim services information, talk with officers, check out the fire department’s ladder truck and snack on donuts

Wyonzek said the detachment partially relies on community members coming forward and informing them of their concerns.

“Without the people coming forward to tell us what’s going on in their community, we don’t know sometimes what’s going on,” Wyonzek said. “We’re not from here. All my members never grew up here, so we’re trying to get engaged into the community and getting people to come forward to talk to us.”

His goal for the event is that it allows people to feel more comfortable approaching the local detachment.

 “Lots of people are intimidated by the police. They see them lots of times in a negative aspect. This allows us to be seen in more of a positive aspect and hopefully, in seeing us on the street, people are able to go talk to us and give us information or if they have any concerns with the community.”

He said the event allowed an informal environment for the community to speak with them regarding their concerns for the community, and ask questions to the detachment.

Some questions they received included, “How much does a police car cost?”, “Do you have any bad guys in jail right now?”, and “How many members work here?”

Currently the detachment has 13 constables and two corporals. They are waiting for a new staff sergeant to be assigned.

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