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RCMP meet with community to talk policing, recruitment, and protests

An RCMP cruiser outside of the Brix Experience in Moncton. (CTV/Derek Haggett) An RCMP cruiser outside of the Brix Experience in Moncton. (CTV/Derek Haggett)

The Codiac Regional RCMP held its second Community Coffee event in Moncton Thursday morning.

The community meet-and-greets have been initiated by the RCMP as a way to build relationships with the people they serve.

The meeting was an opportunity for people to speak directly to a police officer, fire marshal or paramedic.

One of the topics discussed was community policing and more of a presence by the RCMP on downtown streets.

Inspector Chantal Farrah said they have been making downtown patrols, not only in police cars but also on foot and on bikes, a priority.

“This give us a chance to connect with people face to face and to stop and chat with local residents and business owners to discuss what is important to them and provide our services when there are issues we can assist with,” said Farrah in an email to CTV News.

That’s great news for Taha Maarous who wants to see a larger police presence on the city’s streets.

“I think the more we see first responders, I think the safer we feel. It's good for us to have more units in our communities. I believe that more units means more budget. A bigger budget,” said Maarous.

Farrah didn’t answer questions about policing budgets, but did say the RCMP realizes when people see officers it helps “increase the sense of safety security” and being present and visible in the community is important to them.

A member of the RCMP’s recruitment team was also on hand for the meeting.

Eighteen-year-old Emilie Gaudet said she’s been interested in joining the RCMP for years.

“Being able to help people and do what I can to keep people safe,” said Gaudet.

She was told it couldn’t hurt to start the application process now while she’s studying at the Université de Moncton.

“They all told me finishing my studies was a good idea and they would definitely be useful once I get into the RCMP,” said Gaudet.

Guillaume Bélanger of the Codiac RCMP said recruiting is part of their job.

“It’s important for every member to share our experiences as an RCMP officer,” said Bélanger. “The need is great for the RCMP right now and we wanted to share an invite to get as many people as we can and provide information about the way to join.”

Protests and counter-protests

Bélanger also spoke about Wednesday’s incident at Centennial Park, when protesters and counter-protesters met head-to-head after a march around Bessborough School had concluded.

Hundreds gathered in the city's west-end to stage a protest centred around gender education and policies in Canada's schools.

There was a heavy police presence both at the school and the park.

“It's important for us to be able to let people express themselves and use their right to protest, however, we need to make sure it's made in a safe environment and the rules are respected,” said Bélanger. “It's also important for us to protect the public and the youth and the school system.”

A spokesperson for the Anglophone East School District said it had been in communication with the RCMP for weeks leading up to Wednesday's event to ensure the safety of its students and staff.

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