WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Police Service will be consolidating its approach to MMIWG. The new model will see a coordination of resources from the Homicide Unit, the Counter Exploitation Unit, the Missing Persons Unit, and the Internet Child Exploitation Unit.
These Units form part of the Investigations Branch of the WPS under the direction and oversight of a Deputy Chief and Superintendent. Each of these units is directly supervised by experienced sergeants with a mandate to readily coordinate and rapidly transition investigations involving the exploitation of Indigenous women and girls, including missing persons investigations and homicide investigations.
A dedicated Family Liaison position has also been added to assist WPS investigators with communicating and working with MMIWG families and their respective communities.
The advantages for the Winnipeg Police Service will be the greater scope and flexibility of the specialized units involved with MMIWG to work with the Indigenous community in concert with the Winnipeg Outreach Network. The Winnipeg Outreach Network has representation from more than a dozen grassroots and community groups that provide services to Indigenous women and youth.
Last November, officers from Project Devote were reassigned to the Homicide Unit to address a back-log of homicide investigations. Those investigators, along with the remaining Winnipeg police investigators assigned to Project Devote will be reassigned to this consolidated approach.
The WPS will no longer have dedicated investigators assigned to Project Devote. WPS investigators will continue to liaise with RCMP investigators assigned to Project Devote and will work with them to share any new information that may emerge in the future.
"As a police service, we have to focus our efforts on working with the Indigenous community to ensure vulnerable Indigenous women and girls are not exploited in the first place," said Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth.