A new province-wide, multi-jurisdictional, digital billboard and social media awareness campaign was launched on Sunday to bring attention to the long-term missing persons cases in Saskatchewan.
The launch of the new campaign, Project HOME (Help Our Missing Emerge), coincides with the beginning of Saskatchewan Missing Persons Week. The goal of the project is to raise awareness and generate new tips that can assist Saskatchewan police agencies in helping locate all of these missing individuals.
There are currently 133 long-term missing persons cases in the province. Their cases remain open and officers continue to investigate their disappearances, while their families wait for answers about what happened to their missing loved ones
“How do we draw attention to all those people who remain missing across Saskatchewan to ensure that the public is hearing about them, thinking about them, keeping them top of mind?” asked Sergeant Donna Zawislak of the Saskatchewan RCMP Historical Case Unit. “We, as investigators, are always trying to find new information in regards to each of these individuals; however, we have to rely on the public for information, too. We’re hoping these billboards are the key to bringing in some new tips that might assist us.”
Seven billboards – located in Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton, Prince Albert, and North Battleford – will display the pictures, names and some brief details about the majority of those who remain missing in Saskatchewan.
Project HOME was created in partnership with municipal police agencies in the province including Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert Police Services. The project is funded by the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police, the Civil Forfeiture Fund and the Department of Justice Victims and Survivors of Crime Week Victims’ Fund. The RCMP Heritage Centre also provided the use of its billboard on Dewdney Avenue in Regina in support of the campaign.
“I can’t imagine the anguish the families of those who remain missing must feel every day. We want to remind the public that these missing individuals are loved – their absences have left holes in the hearts of their families and friends. They haven’t been and won’t be forgotten. We are hopeful that displaying the names and faces of the long-term missing people in Saskatchewan on these billboards will help generate new information that can lead to their return and provide answers for the families who are missing their loved ones endlessly,” said Assistant Commissioner Rhonda Blackmore, Saskatchewan RCMP Commanding Officer and 2nd Vice President of the SACP.
Project HOME was initiated by Saskatchewan RCMP Missing Person Coordinator Cst. Brendan Sanford and Community Program Officer with the Saskatchewan RCMP’s Crime Prevention/Crime Reduction Unit Vicki Torresan, who is actively involved in efforts in support of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.
Both Cst. Sanford and Ms. Torresan have worked diligently for months to launch Project HOME. They have been in contact with the families whose missing loved ones will be featured on the billboards, ensuring that the families felt included and informed during the process.
Police are asking those with any information about a missing person, even if it may be insignificant, to report to the Saskatchewan RCMP Missing Persons Line at 1-833-502-6861 or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.saskcrimestoppers.com.