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Attacks by James Smith: province says recommendations are already being implemented | Knife attacks in Saskatchewan

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The 29 recommendations made as part of the investigation aim to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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In light of the recommendations made during the coroner's inquest into the attacks of September 4, 2022, Saskatchewan says it already applies several of them.

On the day of the tragedy, Myles Sanderson stabbed 11 people, including his brother, Damien Sanderson, and injured 17 others in the James Smith Cree Nation and the neighboring village of Weldon, Saskatchewan.

The coroner's inquest into the event led to 14 recommendations from jurors and 15 from the coroner who presided over the inquest, Blaine R. Beaven, which aim to prevent that a similar drama happens again.

Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Paul Merriman noted Friday that the province supports these recommendations.

Some #x27;among them were being applied before the investigation and others were being developed before the attacks, he says.

< h3 class="!font-display text-5 xsToSm:text-4 leading-5 font-bold">Knife attacks in Saskatchewan

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These recommendations were mainly addressed to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Correctional Service Canada as well as the James Smith Cree Nation.

They include requests for more support for offenders, more collaboration between First Nations and the police, changes in the management of parole as well as more resources aimed at the reintegration of incarcerated people.

Minister Merriman says measures along these lines are already in place, including crime reduction teams in areas where crime is more common.

We have established programs such as a Warrant Enforcement and Removal Team. […] It's a team that focuses on people who are the subject of an arrest warrant, especially violent criminals, he said.

It's a matter of having better collection and distribution of data, that would allow us to reach people who are illegally at large.

After the conclusion of the investigation, Saskatchewan RCMP Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore said her organization needs more resources to do its job effectively.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Paul Merriman agrees and points out that there is a 10% vacation rate within the RCMP in the province, in addition to 6 to 7% of employees on stress-related or maternity leave.

If more RCMP officers come to Saskatchewan, we are ready to finance their hiring, he assures.

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Saskatchewan Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Paul Merriman. (File photo)

For its part, the National Police Federation, a union that represents approximately 20,000 RCMP members, welcomes the recommendations linked to the investigation, but believes that investments are necessary to put them in place.

Federation Prairie Region Board Administrator Morgan Buckingham says his organization is asking for $100 million over five years to hire 300 police officers .

According to him, these hires would include, among other things, 138 police officers active in the First Nations and 162 agents working in other sectors. Buckingham says the rate of police per capita in Saskatchewan is at its lowest point in 20 years.

We haven't seen new funding for more police officers on the front lines in Saskatchewan since approximately 2013, he says.

Morgan Buckingham also argues that the Saskatchewan government should reconsider establishing a new provincial police force, the Saskatchewan Marshals Service.

These are $20 million invested in a police force that we believe would do redundant work. […] This money could be invested in existing infrastructure, this amount would be equivalent to hiring 100 more [RCMP] police officers in the province.

Minister Paul Merriman argues that the provincial police are a separate entity that aims to meet local needs.

If the federal government and the RCMP cannot bring more police officers here, we need to consider our other options to protect our communities.

With information from Pratyush Dayal and Vincent Turgeon

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