Hamlet offices and the RCMP can offer significant assistance before, during, and after a search, but often they are not heavily involved in community SAR efforts.
Cambridge Bay SAR organizations receive generous support from the community’s Assistant Senior Administrative Officer Jim MacEachern, who also manages the hamlet’s SAR command post during searches. MacEachern helps with the organization and administrative side of a search, coordinates the response, and acts as a conduit for information sharing and communication between the GSAR team, the RCMP, and other agencies. He calls NEM for a tasking number, pays for gas and distributes it to the searchers, and takes care of all reimbursements. He fills out damaged equipment forms and facilitates compensation. Even though this is not technically part of his job description as Assistant SAO, MacEachern has been involved in SAR for years and considers it one of his essential roles. “Before Jim there was no one to help us,” one participant noted. MacEachern’s involvement allows the GSAR coordinators and Auxiliary unit leaders in Cambridge Bay to focus on getting their teams ready to respond and alleviates much of the administrative burden. In short, this example shows how a hamlet office can be an important source of assistance during and after a search; accordingly, it should be integrated in community SAR plans.
The involvement of the RCMP in SAR differs across the Kitikmeot communities, but there are benefits to involvement. Sergeant Jas Dilbar of the Cambridge Bay RCMP noted that her unit does not go out on the land for searches but does help wherever possible in the community. When she first arrived in the community, she realized that the hamlet and community groups had SAR well in hand. She simply observed the first couple of SAR operations to figure out what roles the RCMP could take on. The RCMP can help with communication and coordination at the community-level, and they can keep families informed so that SAR coordinators can focus on other aspects of the operation.