Simon Perreault, a police officer from Thérèse-De Blainville, is currently on loan with Nunavik Police Service in Kangirsuk. On his uniform, he wears the badges of the two departments he serves. (Photo courtesy of Simon Perreault)

Southern officer on loan to Nunavik wants to build trust with Inuit

Simon Perreault will be posted in the region for about 7 months

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Nunavik Police Service is bolstering its rank by borrowing officers from other Quebec regions.

It announced last month that it has signed a loan agreement with the regional police department in Thérèse-De Blainville, Que., a municipality north of Montreal.

This isn’t a first for Nunavik’s police service. For the past two years, provincial Sûreté du Québec officers have been working in Nunavik to fill some of the region’s policing shortages.

Simon Perreault, the first of the Thérèse-De Blainville patrol officers to arrive in Nunavik, has been living in Kangirsuk for the past month, following a week of training in Kuujjuaq. He’ll be posted in the region for at least seven months, but isn’t sure if he’ll be staying in Kangirsuk in the new year, depending on operational needs.

With 11 years of policing experience behind him, Perreault said he wanted the chance to try something new so he packed a suitcase and headed north.

“That just happened at the right time in my career,” Perreault said in an interview.

“I like to travel a lot, I like to meet with the new cultures, so, here I am.”

Kangirsuk is a different environment from where Perreault is used to working. With a population under 600, the community is the type of place where everyone knows everyone. Perreault said he’s getting used to the notion that he “can’t hide” in such a small place, and he’ll run into the people he has arrested at the local co-op store, for example.

However, Perrault said he wants to build trust with the people in his adopted community.

“The whole historical thing with the police officers, and generally, just the white people here in the North – some of them [have done] bad things in the past,” he said.

“Inuit are kind of close, they don’t trust us as fast as I would like – and again, that’s for a good reason, I think – so I have to work harder to get their trust, but I think I’m on a good way.”

According to Jean-Francois Morin, Nunavik police’s deputy-chief of operations, the agreement with police in Thérèse-De Blainville is also a way to mentor some of the younger officers who are permanently based in the region.

The current loan agreement came about after a deal with Montreal police was put on hold. According to Morin, a rise in gun violence in Montreal has limited the resources the city’s police service was able to send out to other jurisdictions.

One of Nunavik police’s long-term goals is to hire more local recruits, Morin said. According to him, only four of the 83 working officers in the region are Inuit from Nunavik.

Morin said there are several barriers to recruitment; for one, some potential recruits fear they may have to arrest a family member or friend. But, the biggest barrier is that all police training occurs in the south over the course of a few months, often at the RCMP Academy in Regina.

To overcome that barrier, Nunavik police are targeting recruitment campaigns towards Nunavimmiut who are already studying post-secondary education in the south.

“Our goal would be to have as many Inuit police officers as possible, and we’re not letting it go,” Morin said in an interview.

“We’re very open-minded, and we’re thinking outside the box, and we’re doing everything we can to recruit Inuit police officers.”

The agreement with Nunavik is the fourth that Thérèse-De Blainville police have made with an Indiginous community’s police department.

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Inuk from Nunavik on

    Jobs to be had , but nobody wants to work .

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  2. Posted by Woo what on

    I had to double look, I thought his head went around once and was looking at me like an owl.

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  3. Posted by That’s the example on

    That’s the kind of people that are welcome into Nunavik. People like that contribute greatly to the community. A good pillar. We have just too many rotten pillars, those that born here and those that moved here. Join this energy he has proposed and contribute to the well being of Nunavik. One comment makes fun of his photo, as by the messed up character of the fun maker. Jealous or what?

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  4. Posted by Compared characters on

    Compare this young man’s character to some of the local characters of Nunavik. This person came into Nunavik , leaving his home , and wants to make a difference in the world. Show me a local character who wants to make a difference in comparison? And I’ll show you Nunavik,

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  5. Posted by when are we going to see an Inuk leading the Force? on

    There are too many southern Cops being brought up, when RCMP Inuit Officers use to run as a real Officers back in the days 1960’s till 1970’s when the SQ Police took over, they have recruited Inuit Officers within 14 Northern Villages, then 1995 KRPF took over with still many racial acts.

    So, today, we get to hear a lot of Police brutality from a southern cops, the racial act is still much high, even they abused elders, cruelty to an elder, lost respect of humanity. Look at their uniforms! it is made for the North Hire more Inuit!

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    • Posted by Inuk from Nunavik on

      Nobody wants to work, even when there are jobs to be had , that is why , guy like him come up.

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      • Posted by Just remember on

        Just remember that it’s better , much better to have this police come in from the south, he’s fully motivated to work. It’s a bad deal for all of Nunavik when we get a local person, who doesn’t really want to work, and is not motivated trying to do police work. Don’t forget we have lots of young locals who have done just that , and are now not with the police in Nunavik no more.

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    • Posted by Police were always from south on

      The behaviour today is different from years ago. More alcohol and drugs and people today are too lazy to work. They want to go through life free , and let someone else do the work. People don’t have a good life from their own bad choices. Police are always from the south, every thing is from south, because of laziness in the north.

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  6. Posted by Tulugaq on

    When a colonial power tells you that they’ll do it for you, all that justice stuff, then it happens that you may give up and let them do it. So, there we are, justice dropped from the sky and from the South. No indication in the article whether this guy can speak Inuktitut or what colonial language he’s using. Like everything else in a colony, foreign police, foreign justice.

    Of course, many people abdicated their role in conflict resolution since the powers that be and / or the church will do it for you, at your expense. On the other end of the country, in Yukon, communities have a new approach to justice: the Community Safety Officers that are first responders, know the local language and do not carry weapons nor do they lay charges before the courts. If the matters get too dangerous, they get the RCMP to come and do the arrests etc. Since, the crime rates have declined significantly in these communities as they take care themselves of the problems before they escalate.

    Perhaps it’s time for the communities to take responsibility for their own people?

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    • Posted by Wake up, and fly on

      Wake up, and put your thoughts into dealing with the mental illness around you. Ask yourself why are people living a memory, rather then living reality? Connect with help, from other cultures around the globe that have endured hardship, and went beyond, stop living in the past . Stop living your memory, life is short. Start also by teaching good human traits to your live ones.

  7. Posted by Once you’re a victim hurt for life! on

    No one cannot just move on, even if they try to receive treatment, once you are hurt, it sticks in them.

    Especially to a child abused since new-born to adolescence, nothing is forgotten, very hard to accept to let go by remembering being hit with a broom and any stick that was available. etc.

    And yes, no one can last as an Inuk Cop, but these guys here in Nunavik better start correcting themselves not to brutalize their suspects, treat them equally, understand their suspect’s state, try to counsel them too, that’s what the meaning of a real Officer, a Peace Officer!

    • Posted by You listen up Victim on

      First of all the same abusive people mentality that you are describing in your comment , is closely related in character to the nuisance that police have to deal with, day , and night 24/7. If you can describe abuse the way you do, and in the same breath schooling the police on their behaviour, then why not go further and school the people around you to start behaving well. And children do not deserved to have the older generation sickness passed to them, even if it’s not the older generation fault, it’s not the children fault either.

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