White Pony Lodge Road Patrol - North Central Regina
Last Updated on July 5, 2016
A group of women from Regina’s North Central neighborhood is trying to do something to reduce violence in the area. They carry out patrols every Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m, not to get involved in any perceived violence but to encourage their neighbours to be more vigilant and to show they care.
“This came out of an initiative called North Central End the Violence,” said Shawna Oochoo, one of the organizers. The community began talking about what can be done to reduce violence following the February murder of a 26-year-old man in their community. Three teen-age boys along with a 22-year-old man were charged with the murder. “We held a community forum and a political forum and from those forums we began looking at what other communities are doing.” They looked to Winnipeg and the Bear Clan group that began patrols in the 1990s. It eventually faded away but was resurrected in 2015. “We looked at the success they’re having and how do we apply that to what we’re doing here,” said Oochoo. The Ojibway and Cree clan traditions saw people born into the Bear Clan as protectors of their community. The White Pony Lodge name was “gifted” to the group by a Cree Elder who lives in the North Central neighborhood.
The patrol, usually three to five members wearing reflective vests and carrying first aid kits and radios, walk on 5th avenue considered North Central’s main drag. As of this writing the group had been out for just a couple of weekends but were pleased with the support. Oochoo said the short weekend hours were chosen as a start and they did not have the resources to carry out patrols in the more dangerous overnight hours. “We are not the police or any authority, what we are is a supportive, positive presence in our community.” They advise police when they begin and end their patrols and will call police if they encounter any situations.
Aids Program Southern Saskatchewan provided them space in their building and donations have helped purchase the vests, radios and first aid kits.
Beatrice Wallace, lives and owns a business, Tec Computers, in North Central. She became involved because she felt the area was not safe for her children or grandchildren. “It hasn’t been safe in front of my house for a long time so when this came about I definitely wanted to be a part of it.” She believes the patrol hours are having an impact with the community. “People can see we are trying to make a difference. We have kids greet us, parents greet us and that support is beneficial.”