Setting Up Shop

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The community of Chisasibi has won out to become the new home of the police force’s headquarters, according to Deputy Grand Chief and Police Commissioner Ashley Iserhoff.

After each community made a presentation to the commission on why their community would be the best spot to set up shop, Chisasibi was chosen based on the services available within the vicinity.

Though Iserhoff himself did not participate in the non-political selection process, he said that during the selection points were awarded for different criteria within each community on a grid system to aid in the selection process.

“I think that all of the presentations before the commission were awesome. They all suggested that their communities were the best place to have the headquarters and then we decided on the community with the highest score would be the one awarded the headquarters based on our grid,” said Iserhoff.

Factors such as quality of life, retention of staff, and the proximity to an airport all played a role in Chisasibi getting the nod.

The Police Commission is hopeful that construction can begin on the facility to house the new headquarters in 2009 so that it can be operational by 2010. The project will go forward just as soon as the funds are released. The funding comes from the Cree’s new relationship agreement with Canada but was on hold because of the provincial election.

“Hopefully the minister who is named will move on the issue and get our money to the communities. Right now we’ve had to get a loan to maintain the service the way it is so we are waiting for the government to move,” said Iserhoff.

Despite the new formation of this police force, Iserhoff wanted to assure the public that those already working in law enforcement will remain in the communities and not be moved around unless under special circumstances.

“The only ones that I would expect to be moved around is when certain investigations are taking place or the specialized departments within the Eeyou police force are set up,” said Iserhoff.

In the meantime the Police Commission will be posting a position to recruit a new police director shortly.

For the community of Chisasibi this news could not come at a better time as six area residents were arrested on November 28 for cocaine trafficking, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, possession of drugs, possession of property obtained by crime and unsafe storage of firearms.

After conducting a series of searches in five different locations, the RCMP’s Aboriginal Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, in cooperation with the Sûreté du Québec and local police enforcement, found the accused in possession of 15 firearms, cash, cocaine, hashish and marijuana.

The arrested suspects are Earl Davey Iserhoff Jr., 18, Earl Iserhoff Sr, 48, Jesse House, 24, Brian Pepabano, 25, Caroline Rabbitskin, 29, and Ernie Rabbitskin, 36.

All of the suspects appeared in court on December 1.

Once the Eeyou Istchee police force is up and formally running there is no doubt that they will have their work cut out for them as Chisasibi was not the only community to see a major arrest recently.

According to Mistissini’s police director Bradley Mianscum, Aretha Iserhoff has been arrested under multiple charges for the alleged attempted murder of her sister.

Apparently a dispute between the two sisters turned violent on the evening of December 6 when an upset Iserhoff ran to the kitchen area and grabbed an 8”-long butcher knife. The victim was stabbed four times, enduring three stab wounds to her back and one to her side. The victim fled on foot and was able to flag down a vehicle passing by and get to medical services. The victim is now in stable condition but remains in hospital.

Iserhoff appeared in court in Amos on December 8 and has been charged with uttering threats to cause death, bodily harm to the victim, attempting to cause death by stabbing the victim, assault endangering the life of the victim and carrying a dangerous weapon that disrupted public peace.

Despite the fact that these crimes have occurred recently, swift police action has kept the communities safe and as the new police force comes together, public security will only become stronger and more efficient.

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