The union of police officers of the Council of the Anishnabe Nation of Lac-Simon is shocked to learn about the closure of the police department on March 31.

The Council of the Anishnabe Nation of Lac-Simon has announced that since it has not been able to reach an agreement with both levels of Government regarding the funding of the local police, it is forced to close the department.

“The current funding is valid until March 2018, but that agreement is based on two patrol officers per shift. However, following the tragic death of officer Thierry Leroux, an inspector with the Commission nationale des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail [Commission on workplace standards, equity, health and safety] issued an opinion that four patrol officers, rather than two, are required at all times,” explained Julie Brault, CUPE union representative for the Lac-Simon police.

If there is no agreement by March 31, the Sûreté du Québec will take over. This means that 24 police officers as well as administrative staff will lose their jobs. Many of them have young families and some will be forced to leave the region.

“It makes no sense for the Council to arrive at this point, especially when the Lac-Simon police saw how happy the community was to get back their own police force after the total withdrawal of the Sûreté du Québec two weeks ago. The Lac-Simon police officers have always had a close relationship with the community, as well as an excellent knowledge of its issues and needs, which lets them do a better job of protecting the community,” concluded the CUPE union representative.

With more than 110,000 members in Quebec, CUPE is present in 10 sectors, including social services, communications, education, universities, energy, municipalities, government corporations and public agencies, urban and air transport, and the mixed sector.