PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE — The Manitoba government has joined with the RCMP and community partners and announced the launch of a new Bear Clan patrol group in Portage la Prairie. This group which is affiliated with the Winnipeg based Bear Clan Patrol is tasked to continue to expand this organization’s important work focused on community safety and wellness, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen and Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced on November 29th in Portage La Prairie.

“Our government is proud to provide the support needed to launch the Bear Clan patrol in Portage la Prairie in partnership with the RCMP,” said Cullen.  “Its work will make a measurable difference in the lives of vulnerable people, while also building a safer community for all.”

“The Bear Clan’s growing number of helpers are there when they’re needed, building on the dedication and vision of those who have made the original patrol in Winnipeg the success it is today,” said Clarke.  “Their work reflects a traditional commitment to holistic health and wellness, building a community together.”

More than $31,000 in funding will be provided to the RCMP detachment in Portage la Prairie to support its partnership with the new Bear Clan group.  It will be used to:
•    train patrol members on first aid, mental health first aid, cultural sensitivity and the use of naloxone;
•    stock important supplies such as sharps disposal units, notebooks, flashlights, first aid kits and radios; and
•    equip patrol members with reflective vests, gloves, and Bear Clan outerwear, ensuring they can be recognized in the community.

“When it comes to crime prevention, community engagement is critical,” said Assistant Commissioner Jane MacLatchy, commanding officer of the Manitoba RCMP.  “The more people that are dedicated to safer communities and being a visible presence, the better.  Partnerships with community crime prevention groups, such as the Bear Clan Patrol, are critical for the RCMP.  These groups are a valuable resource to our officers.”

“The Portage la Prairie Bear Clan would like to thank the province for this investment, which will be used towards the training and resources needed to run an effective patrol,” said Vienna Muise, co-chair, Portage la Prairie Bear Clan.  “Bear Clan is an inclusive organization that strives to provide restoration and maintenance of harmony within the community. This would not be possible without this funding and support.”

The Bear Clan is also receiving a $20,000 contribution from the Community Foundation of Portage and District (CFPD), which was also presented today.

“Our mission is to help fund local community priorities and we unanimously agreed there was a need for this program,” said Blair Geisel, CFPD board member, and grant committee chair.  “We are proud to present our support and wish success to everyone involved.  The decision to help fund the creation of a Bear Clan Patrol will address the health and well-being of the members of our community.”

The provincial investment is provided through the federal Proceeds of Crime Fund, which is forfeited from federally prosecuted Criminal Code offences.  The province has also distributed more than $1.6 million to law enforcement agencies across Manitoba from this fund and the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund this year.  It has been used to:
•    purchase specialized equipment and training for police agencies to improve officer and community safety,
•    support the victims’ assistance fund, and
•    invest in community organizations leading public safety and crime prevention initiatives.

For more information about criminal property forfeiture, visit www.gov.mb.ca/justice/commsafe/cpf/index.html.

The CFPD is a public foundation serving the City and RM of Portage la Prairie.  The contributions of donors are pooled into permanent, income-earning endowment funds that provide funding for local community priorities.  Community grants are provided twice a year to local not-for-profit organizations and projects.  For more information, visit www.cfpdi.ca.

The minister noted the Manitoba government also provided more than $126,000 last year to support the Bear Clan Patrol in Winnipeg.  For more information about the Bear Clan, visit www.bearclanpatrolinc.com/.

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