The Prince Albert Grand Council is hopeful that a new curfew bylaw passed by city council will benefit all residents and keep the community safe.
Prince Albert city council voted to implement the new bylaw by a 7-2 margin at Monday’s meeting over objections from one city councillor who worried Indigenous residents could be unfairly targeted.
In a statement released to the Daily Herald on Wednesday, the PAGC said they support bylaws that increase community safety, and trusted the Prince Albert Police Service to take appropriate disciplinary action if any officer began racial profiling Indigenous residents.
“If a person is in the back alleys late at night for a lawful reason and they are stopped and questioned, we should appreciate that the police are doing their job to protect us and our property,” the statement read. “It is our hope that equity in policing will be practiced and if any officer were to abuse the true intent of this bylaw, we are confident the PA Police Service will investigate any allegations and take appropriate action.”
The PAGC compared the bylaw to stop checks which police use to protect the public from impaired drivers. They wrote that although people who are not impaired still get stopped, the bylaw helps police identify those who put the public’s safety in jeopardy.
“We at the Prince Albert Grand Council and its members are part of the Prince Albert community,” the statement read. “This means that we also strive for community safety, whether it be our property or our own personal safety, and it is our hope that this by-law was designed to assist all of us in doing this.”
Prince Albert’s new curfew bylaw prohibits access to public walkways between midnight and 6 a.m. Residents face fines of up to $5,000 for disobeying the bylaw.
The Prince Albert Police Service declined to comment on when or how the new bylaw would be rolled out, or how it would affect Indigenous people. A police spokesperson said it was too soon to answer those questions, but added there would be further updates in the future.
“Administration wants to do a thorough review of what’s included in the bylaw, how it fits within the police service and how it might be rolled out down the road,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The City of Prince Albert already has a similar bylaw in place restricting access to public parks outside of certain hours. The new curfew bylaw will not be applied to the Rotary Trail.