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HomeNewsDwayne Lakusta formally sworn in as GPPS Chief of Police

Dwayne Lakusta formally sworn in as GPPS Chief of Police

It was an historic occasion at Montrose Cultural Centre on April 19th when Grande Prairie Police Service Chief Dwayne Lakusta was formally sworn in, in a public setting, as the first Chief of Police in GPPS history.

GPPS Chief Dwayne Lakusta shakes the hands of provincial dignitaries (Ethan Montague,

Chief Lakusta was joined by a sizeable group of dignitaries from around the province, friends, families, and colleagues to mark the occasion, and took his oath to protect and serve the City of Grande Prairie to the best of his ability.

Lakusta has been Chief of the GPPS for a number of months, playing an administrative role for the agency in recruiting, setting goals, and establishing the agency from the ground up, and Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton says with the ceremony officially marking Lakusta’s commitment to the city, it makes the thought of a municipal police service more real than ever.

“Today is a really momentous day for the City of Grande Prairie,” she says. “This has been multiple years in the process, lots of conversations, [and] recognizing what is possible, and with it being here today, it is real.”

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The GPPS will be the first municipal police service in Alberta since Camrose in the 1950s, and while recognizing the work the RCMP has done in Grande Prairie, Mayor Clayton says the change to a city police service is necessary as it simply addresses local problems at a local level.

“For many many years, the RCMP did a good job in our community, but the mandate was not based on local needs, the mandate came from Ottawa, so having that local input through a local police commission is really the different piece.”

The “humbled” Chief Lakusta says the occasion is yet another milestone in the transition from RCMP to GPPS jurisdiction, and the event symbolizes the road ahead for the city’s new police service.

“It’s a great moment, another milestone for the Grande Prairie Police Service, it was a great moment, a humbling moment there,” he says. “We’ve always had the sleeves rolled up but now we’re really going to focus our efforts, we do have our first experienced officer class starting May 27th, and we’re going to be going hard here and moving forward until we have a change of command.”

The Chief also addressed residents who have questioned the need for a municipal police service. He says the direct line of communication between residents and the GPPS is just one of the “many” benefits of the switch.

“It truly is there to improve community safety and wellbeing,” he says. “Give me a chance, if you have questions or concerns, let me answer those questions because there are a lot of variables that are maybe unknown that people are unsure of, what I don’t like to see is rumours and innuendos out in the community, we can actually answer that.”

The GPPS remains on track to officially take over jurisdiction of the city from the RCMP by 2026, and collaborative efforts between the two policing agencies will continue this year.

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