The first Portage la Prairie Bear Clan Patrol will take place on January 24, 2020.

Co-chair of the Indigenous Women's Council Vienna Muise announced the Patrol start date earlier this week.

"We'll be meeting up at a specified location at 5:30, and we'll spend that time getting what we need," says Muise. "Our gear ready, supplies ready to take out, and the weather kind of dictates what some of that stuff will be. Once we have our stuff on board and people have signed in, then we head out at 6."

The patrol will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Muise says it's never too late to volunteer.

"We will sign them in. We will get them some things to sign and talk about what's going to happen so everybody's aware of who the patrol captain is and what we expect out of our volunteers, and then we head out."

Muise says training is not required for people who are just joining as a volunteer, but it does help.

"It's good to have your first-aid. It's good to have non-violent crisis intervention. Mental health first-aid is a good one to have because you have to understand you're dealing with community," says Muise.

"In the community, we have vulnerable persons. Everybody in the community has different needs."

Muise adds that training is provided by the Bear Clan for regular volunteers and for Bear Clan itself. She notes it's important to approach people in the correct manner. Anyone looking to patrol should be dressed appropriately for the weather with thick-soled boots. A safety-vest with the Bear Clan logo will be provided for the length of the patrol.

She says it's exciting to have the patrol officially starting, but warns that this is not the "quick fix" for some of the issues in Portage. The patrol is not about policing the streets or stopping crime - it's about community engagement.

The patrols are planned to be every Friday for now and there will be discussions in the future about other days of the week. The initial plan includes one to two teams.

A location will be released before January 24, 2020.