Nunavik police using master keys to enter private residences: Inukjuak mayor
Police chief details agreement with Kativik housing board, says keys only to be used to intervene in life-threatening situations
Kativik Regional Government councillors want to know why Nunavik police are using Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau master keys to enter people’s homes.
Nunavik’s police leadership took questions on the issue Tuesday during the regional government’s meeting in Kuujuaq.
Inukjuak Mayor Pauloosie Kasudluak said some of his community members have expressed concerns about an officer entering homes with the master key at night while police were searching for someone.
“Those police did not have a search warrant,” Kasudluak said in Inuktitut through an interpreter.
“I think they went to four or five houses where the tenants were asleep and they had no clue what was going on. I think that was something that was done wrong.”
Nunavik Police Services Chief Jean-Pierre Larose said he was aware of the specific incident Kasudluak referred to.
He said officers are only allowed to enter homes without a warrant in situations where someone’s life is in danger. In this case, they were trying to find somebody who police believed was suicidal.
“We were trying to find out where was the person, and each door we were going at [there was] no answer, so we used the key,” Larose said.
He said Nunavik Police Service has an agreement with the housing bureau that allows police to use master keys to enter residences. It only allows entry without a search warrant in instances where police believe someone’s life is in danger.
“It’s not that we want to go into houses without warrants: it’s the nature of the job.… Sometimes it’s not clear, and we fear for life,” Larose told councillors.
He added he wants people to report any misuse of the master keys to management.
Deputy Chief Jean-Francois Morin said officers have been told not to use master keys unless they truly believe there is a life in danger.
“A reminder was sent to all officers: there’s a very clear protocol about the use of those master keys,” he said.
Larose and Morin also said that use of the master keys is an alternative to the way police used to enter homes owned by the Kativik housing board.
“It avoids, of course, breaking doors and having them repaired months later,” Larose said.