The Manitoba government is providing more than $349,000 from the proceeds of Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund to the Brandon Police Service (BPS) and Brandon Bear Clan for crime prevention and safety initiatives in the Brandon community, Premier Heather Stefanson and Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced here today.
“The Brandon Police Service and the Bear Clan patrols have a strong reputation for being able to offer on-the-ground support, promote safety and deter crime,” said Stefanson. “Our government is pleased to provide this funding in Brandon for these important initiatives, which will help create safer streets for a stronger community.”
Forfeiture funds result from seized assets used as instruments of unlawful activity or are proceeds of unlawful activity. Through the Manitoba government, the funds are allocated to programs, equipment and initiatives that support victims of crime, crime prevention in the community, and innovation and equipment for law enforcement agencies.
“Our government supports front-line officers, emergency responders, and community groups that help provide safer streets,” said Goertzen. “Funding for the Bear Clan will broaden their reach to support more vulnerable Manitobans and the Brandon Police Service will receive new gear to help officers investigate violent crime and track down those responsible.”
Criminal property forfeiture funds of $80,000 will be used by the Brandon Bear Clan to purchase a minibus to provide services over a larger area of Brandon, distribute supplies, and serve as a safe space for vulnerable residents to warm up in winter.
“Brandon Bear Clan Inc. is very grateful for the funding that will allow us to increase support for community members and Brandon as a whole,” said Tammy Hossack, treasurer, Brandon Bear Clan Women’s Council. “A larger transport vehicle will allow us to expand patrols to areas of Brandon we are invited to and will provide a place to respectfully help community members out of the elements. We cannot express enough appreciation to the Manitoba government for this substantial grant.”
BPS will use some of forfeiture funds to improve and increase tools available to its forensic identification unit, including over $64,000 to purchase new forensic evidence gathering equipment to better locate and capture trace evidence at crime scenes. In addition, the police service will invest $22,000 in remote-piloted aircraft technology to provide officers with enhanced search and rescue capabilities and improved ability to gather intelligence during critical incidents.
“The funding allows our police service to purchase equipment and train our employees, outside of our regularly budgeted items, ensuring the BPS can continue to offer exceptional policing services to our citizens and those visiting Brandon,” said Chief Wayne Balcaen, Brandon Police Service. “The Manitoba government’s partnership with, and continued support of, the BPS year over year through criminal property forfeiture funding, helps solidify our mission of ‘Committed to Community Safety’.”
The remaining $184,000 is being invested in other BPS programs, priorities, and equipment.
Since its inception in 2009, the Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund has distributed more than $26 million to communities throughout Manitoba. The program seizes and liquidates criminal assets, and redirects funding to projects and initiatives designed to protect Manitobans and enhance public safety. The funds are provided to organizations across Manitoba whose important initiatives continue to build community, prevent crime and invest in youth and support victims of crime, the minister noted.
For more information about criminal property forfeiture, visit https://gov.mb.ca/justice/commsafe/cpf/index.html.