The leadership of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) is speaking out after the the arrest of 12 people in Pelican Narrows this past weekend.

At a virtual media conference Tuesday afternoon the First Nation’s leadership thanked RCMP for their work. PBCN Councillor Sarah Swan, who represents Pelican Narrows told the media conference the increased police presence made a real difference for people living in the community.

“Having the RCMP and the extra enforcement come in to our community made a very big difference in our lives, we feel safe,” she said.

Swan said this past weekend was a quieter one for people in Pelican Narrows. Specifically she said she did not hear any gunshots or aircraft flying overhead to take injured people from the community. Swan explained while the increased police presence was needed and helpful, she added work still needs to be done to address the issue of addictions, specifically meth.

“We are seeking assistance to help our members,” she said.

PBCN Chief Karen Bird said public safety and health services are improving in Pelican Narrows. The chief as well took time to thank workers at the community’s health clinic for their efforts.

“I wish to express my deepest gratitude to our health care workers,” she said.

Chief Bird explained to help staff working at the health centre the First Nation has brought security into the facility. Bird said this has been important for the health centre as before staff did not feel safe while they were working.

When it comes to more long term solutions to the issues in Pelican Narrows, Bird said the First Nation has done up a proposal and are looking to get funding from both the provincial and federal governments.

“We are securing some meeting dates, we will be discussing our proposal that we have sent out,” she said.

In their work to improve community safety in Pelican Narrows Bird said she has been in contact with leadership from James Smith Cree Nation to learn about their security service and what knowledge they might be able to offer. However the PBCN chief explained that poor cell phone coverage in parts of the community impact the ability of such a security service to operate which is why the First Nation is working to get another cell phone tower constructed.

“It’s for emergency reasons and also for the safety of the community,” said Bird.

RCMP Inspector Steven Bergerman, who oversees RCMP operations in Saskatchewan’s north district, was also present at the virtual media conference. He explained along with stepped up enforcement police officers have been working to support people providing important services in the community. One specific example he provided was in regards to the community health centre, where officers recently led staff through a lockdown drill.

Bergerman would not comment on the specific number of officers who took part in the operations this past weekend, citing security concerns. However he said the RCMP’s La Ronge Crime Reduction Team (CRT) will be continuing to support Pelican Narrows RCMP.

“They will continue to assist with frontline enforcement operations,” he said.

(Top Photo: File Photo.)