The Eeyou Eenou Police Force (EEPF) opened a new and improved station in Mistissini February 23 with a ribbon-cutting and flag-raising ceremony followed by a lunch for community members. The new detachment will provide better services for both the community and the region, said Inland District Captain Joe Saganash. The Inland District encompasses Waswanipi, Oujé-Bougoumou and Mistissini.
“It’s much better than the other police station we had,” Saganash told the Nation. “There’s much more space and it’s going to be better for our officers. There’s more space in the exhibit area, more space in the cell rooms, improved technology, a new garage and a better environment overall.
The EEPF is considering adding an impound yard at the station, he noted. “Instead of going all the way to Chibougamau we’re hoping to be able to store [impounded vehicles] here in Mistissini.”
Several higher ups from both the EEPF and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) attended the inauguration, including EEPF Director Reggie Bobbish, Inspector Lyle Cox as well as Commandant Louis Castonguay and Lieutenant Martin Denis of the SQ. Mistissini Police Commissioner George Gunner and Deputy Chief Gerald Longchap were also in attendance.
“The ceremony started just before 1 pm with an opening prayer,” said Saganash. “Officer Robie Petawabano was our emcee and our youngest officer, Jeremiah Blacksmith, marched with officers Dale Petawabano and Rocky Neeposh for the raising of the flags.”
“There was a lunch afterwards where everyone was welcome to come and visit the new detachment. Oh and we served cake,” he added with a laugh.
The new building is located at 303 Main Street and boasts six holding cells and wholesale improvements on the old detachment. Saganash noted that their old space had just four cells and only one working washroom.
In the new detachment there are retrofitted offices, cutting-edge police technology for fingerprinting and witness interrogation, large garages with space for both police equipment and seized vehicles, spacious evidence storage, staff washrooms, in-cell sinks and toilets, and an all-new plumbing and water filtration system for the entire facility.
A project two years in the making that was headed by the Cree Nation’s Capital Works and Services Department, construction on the new detachment began in the summer of 2015. The Stavibel engineering group and MLS and Associés Architectes Inc. were the companies responsible for seeing it through to completion.
“Now, we’re better equipped,” said Saganash in conclusion.