WIKWEMIKONG—There has been a changing of the guard in community services officers in all three of Manitoulin’s police services: Constable Steve Hart has taken on the role with the Ontario Provincial Police, Constable Murray Still speaks for the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin Anishnaabe Police Service and now Sgt. Mark Trudeau is the new public face of the Wikwemikong Tribal Police.
Like his fellow community services officers, Sgt. Trudeau is a seasoned vet of the force, starting as an officer in his home community in 1992. His new role is full circle for him, the sergeant said, explaining that he was first involved in community services and youth programming.
“At the time they (Tribal Police) couldn’t afford one officer for that specific job,” Sgt. Trudeau explained, adding that this role in the force fell by the wayside for a number of years in exchange for regular policework.
A sergeant supervisor since 2010, the officer officially started his new job on Monday and will be taking the full complement of courses at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer to get up-to-speed on all his new duties, including media detail.
“It’s going to be a real change, but something different, and I’m really looking forward to it,” he told The Expositor. “It’s a role for accessibility and visibility in the community,” he added, noting that it will be broad—from animal control to school bus safety and everything in between.
Sgt. Trudeau said he plans to get involved in community programs this summer—a chance to get to know the youth of Wikwemikong. He also hopes to change the mentality of the people when it comes to dealing with police.
“Sometimes I’ll be in a lineup in a grocery store and parents with a young child will point to me and say ‘you behave or else!’,” the officer said. “I want to change the thinking that ‘we (police officers) are people to run from,’ to ‘we are people to run to’.”
Sgt. Trudeau said he’s also looking forward to collaborating with agencies such as Kina Gbezhgomi, mental health services and youth services. “I’m also looking forward to working with my fellow community services officers across the Island,” he added.