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Too few police officers in the North

There is short staffed, which every police agency is to various degrees. And then there is short staffed. I never realized how few police officers were in the Yukon until I saw this article:

RCMP workload in Yukon ‘not sustainable’, says superintendent

The Yukon RCMP’s superintendent says he’s thankful for outside help, but says the current situation is “not sustainable” when it comes to the territory’s policing.

The force is dealing with several homicide investigations, and has called for support from other jurisdictions.

Brian Jones, the officer in charge of criminal operations in Yukon, says about ten officers flew in from Alberta last weekend. They provided help sweeping for evidence and conducting interviews.

Now they’ve gone home.

Jones says the help was appreciated especially because rapid response is important in homicide investigations.

“Those investigators that have come up from Alberta and other places — they’re busy with their full-time jobs as well,” he says.

This is not the first time the territory’s police force has called for outside help. And Jones thinks it suggests a larger problem with workload.

Yukon’s seven-person Major Crimes Unit has been involved in eight homicide investigations since last summer.

“Long term, that type of energy and effort isn’t sustainable for our people,” Jones said.

In 2016, the Yukon had 138 police officers to cover 482,443 sq km.

The Northwest Territories had 199 police officers to cover 1,346,106 sq km.

And Nunavut had 131 police officers to cover 2,038,722 sq km.

By comparison, British Columbia had 8761 police officers to cover 944,735 sq km.

When you consider the time required to travel large distances from one call to another, plus the extreme weather, it becomes clear that officers in the North face some big challenges.

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