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Back on the beat

Enforcing bylaws in hamlet you grew up in no easy task

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Fort Franklin (Dec 10/01) - Knowing everybody you have to deal with can be a mixed blessing -- just ask this community's new, and only, bylaw officer.

After a brief stint as bylaw officer eight years ago, Calvin Dolphus returned to the beat Nov. 23.

When he started the job, council instructed him to start enforcing bylaws that were being ignored.

So Dolphus is stopping drivers used to getting around without valid drivers licences and young teens hanging out late at night.

"It puts a lot of strain on you," said Dolphus of dealing with people he has known all his life in this community of about 650 people.

"I try to treat people as equals at all times," Dolphus said. "Whether they are young or old, I don't favour anybody over another person."

Dolphus has the tough task of trying to enforce a curfew that has not been enforced for some time. The old bylaw requires youth under 16 to be in their residences between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekends.

Though most people understand he is just doing his job, Dolphus said some take being stopped by him personally. He has only issued warnings so far.

Until he goes for bylaw officer training any charges will be laid by the RCMP.

Like RCMP officers, bylaw officers are supposed to not be influenced by the hassles that are sometimes part of doing their job. But Dolphus said sometimes it is difficult to ignore being regarded as a bad guy for enforcing bylaws.

"It does (have an effect)," he said. "When they make you out to be a bad person when you're trying to do your job to the best of your ability, for the charter community that puts these bylaws in for the safety of the people."