Radio Call-in Show Improves Police Service in Constance Lake First Nation

Rick Allen - Constance Lake
Rick Allen hosted a radio call-in show that brought 24/7 police service to Constance Lake First Nation. (Photo credit, Danny Kresnyak)

Criminals don’t take time off on the weekends. But in Constance Lake First Nation, the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS) was only operational between Monday to Friday, from 6 am – 9 pm. People in the small Aboriginal community didn’t feel safe. Most crimes happened at night, after the NAPS office had closed, and there was no patrol. The closest 24/7 police station is over an hour’s drive away. That’s a long time to wait after calling 911. “The people of Constance Lake had been wanting 24/7 police service in the community for a while,” explains Rick Allen, a volunteer at 89.9 Constance Lake Radio. “But NAPS is very underfunded and has been putting off having a police officer stationed full time in the community.”

 

Rick had been working with JHR Trainer Danny Kresnyak to increase news coverage at the local station when they got the idea for a call-in show. The topic? Police service in the community. The radio show was a hit. People from all over the community called in to stand up for their rights and share how the part-time police service was impacting their lives. Shortly after the radio program aired, NAPS agreed to provide 24 hour police service to Constance Lake. The community is building an onsite residence for off-duty officers.

 

Using the power of media and JHR’s support, Rick empowered his community and ensured that authorities are accountable to the needs of the people. “By going on radio, it helped put pressure on NAPS to finally agree to 24 hour policing.” Rick explains. “The radio allowed the community to speak out publicly and have a voice.”

 

JHR’s work in Northern Ontario is generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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