The Portage la Prairie RCMP detachment is getting $31,000 in provincial funding to help launch a Bear Clan Patrol in that city, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced Nov. 29.
The money will go towards training patrol members in first aid, mental health first aid, cultural sensitivity and using naloxone on people who may be overdosing on opioids. Funding will also go towards purchasing reflective vests and Bear Clan outerwear to ensure they are recognizable, and for other equipment such as sharps disposal units, flashlights, first aid kits and radios.
“Our government is proud to provide the support needed to launch the Bear Clan patrol in Portage la Prairie in partnership with the RCMP,” said Cullen in a press release. “Its work will make a measurable difference in the lives of vulnerable people, while also building a safer community for all.”
“When it comes to crime prevention, community engagement is critical,” said Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMP. “The more people that are dedicated to safer communities and being a visible presence, the better. Partnerships with community crime prevention groups, such as the Bear Clan Patrol, are critical for the RCMP. These groups are a valuable resource to our officers.”
Thew Portage la Prairie Bear Clan also received a $20,000 contribution from the Community Foundation of Portage and District.
The provincial funding is coming from the federal Proceeds of Crime Fund, which distributes property forfeited as a result of federally prosecuted Criminal Code offences.
“The Portage la Prairie Bear Clan would like to thank the province for this investment, which will be used towards the training and resources needed to run an effective patrol,” said Vienna Muise, co-chair of the Portage la Prairie Bear Clan. “Bear Clan is an inclusive organization that strives to provide restoration and maintenance of harmony within the community. This would not be possible without this funding and support.”
The province also provided more than $126,000 last year to support the Bear Clan Patrol in Winnipeg.
Patrol groups based on the Bear Clan idea began popping up in Thompson in the spring of 2018 in response to thefts, arson and vandalism. Peace and Prevention Community began as a neighbourhood patrol group in May 2018 before shifting its focus to organizing free family events that would help provide children and youth with an alternative to committing crimes. They received a $25,500 grant from the Proceeds of Crime Fund in January 2019. Last spring, a group called North of 55 Patrol/Safe Rides was formed to perform street patrols in Thompson.