Farther Reach, Faster Data, Safer Communities

As far north in Quebec as you can go, Nunavik is wildly remote and refreshingly serene. It’s a vast, Arctic landscape dotted with 14 communities totalling roughly 14,000 inhabitants along the coastlines of Hudson Bay, Ungava Bay, and Hudson Strait. From Kuujjuaraapik to Kangiqsualujjuaq, each community has its own identity. They are connected by their Inuit heritage and protected by the Nunavik Police Service (NPS).

In 2023, FSET partnered with Axon to transform NPS’ connectivity by installing Starlink high-speed internet. With Starlink now running at NPS’ detachments throughout Nunavik, officers can do their jobs more efficiently and uphold NPS’ mission and promise of not just policing, but truly collaborating with their communities.

Community Policing: The North Star

Rural living—especially as remote and northerly as Nunavik—is much different than city or even suburban living. In turn, so is policing. Crime is not rampant in Nunavik, partly because the communities are close-knit, but more importantly because the NPS helps create that sense of togetherness.

“When we patrol, we say hi to the people,” said Emmanuel Vignola, an NPS constable in Kangiqsualujjuaq. “We know their names. They know our names. We feel welcomed.”

In 2021, the Kativik Regional Government Council made a visible commitment to community policing in changing the name of the Kativik Regional Police Force to the Nunavik Police Service, subtly but specifically replacing the word “force” with “service” to distance itself from aggressive or repressive actions often associated with police interventions.

High-Speed Internet: The Wild Card

Even with a positive image and relatively low crime rate, the NPS faces inherent challenges due to the region’s sheer remoteness. With long stretches of unforgiving terrain to cover, often under extreme winter conditions, connectivity is essential for communications between headquarters, detachments, and officers.

“Policing in Nunavik is hard work mostly because it’s a difficult environment being so isolated,” said NPS Chief Jean-Pierre Larose. “All of our management and filing systems depend on internet access.”

To streamline its operations, the NPS uses Axon’s Digital Evidence Management system, hosted on Evidence.com. The solution provides a centralized platform for managing, storing, and sharing digital evidence. It integrates seamlessly with body-worn cameras, dashcams, and other digital devices to capture high-quality video and audio evidence. Once captured, this evidence is securely uploaded to the cloud, where it can be easily accessed, managed, and shared by authorized personnel.

Digital Evidence Management enhances the efficiency of evidence handling, reducing the time officers spend on administrative tasks and allowing them to dedicate more energy to community engagement. Its robust security features ensure sensitive data is protected against unauthorized access, maintaining the integrity of the evidence and the privacy of the community members involved. Moreover, its ability to streamline the sharing of evidence with legal and judicial entities not only speeds up the legal process but also fosters greater transparency and accountability within the justice system.

For the NPS to fully leverage the capabilities of Axon’s Digital Evidence Management system, a reliable high-speed internet connection is indispensable. For the longest time, that crucial connection was elusive and seemingly unattainable.

Planning a Game-Changing Upgrade

Recognizing the NPS’ need for high-speed internet to effectively use its digital tools, Axon selected FSET to consult on implementing Starlink, the satellite internet service developed by SpaceX.

“We wanted to see how we could serve a remote community where throughput and bandwidth were low,” said Adam Hassan, Director, Sales Engineering & Professional Services for Axon. “The dream was always high-speed. When Starlink became available and we learned about FSET assisting with Starlink installs, it was a no-brainer.”

Starlink uses a constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide broadband internet, particularly in remote and rural areas where traditional internet infrastructure is not feasible. The low orbit of these satellites reduces the latency often experienced with traditional satellite internet, allowing for much faster data transmission rates.

As a leading Starlink installer in Canada and longtime IT project partner to Axon, FSET is uniquely equipped to bring Starlink to remote communities and police services across the country. FSET’s, Axon’s, and Starlink’s respective missions all tie back to enabling connectivity as a driver of the things that every community needs: safety, opportunities, infrastructure, and visible digital equity. In preparation for an exciting trip to the far north, FSET managed and coordinated procurement, logistics, and scheduling to deploy high-performance Starlink mobile flat mount kits on site for the NPS at its headquarters and community detachments.

An Uplifting and Exhilarating Experience

The trek to Nunavik took our installation and documentation team from Kenora, where FSET is based, first to Winnipeg for a flight to Montreal. Then we hopped a second flight to Kuujjuaq, or “Great River,” for the first installation at the NPS’ headquarters.

After getting settled in and meeting the NPS’ team face to face, the expansive project kicked into high gear. Over the course of six working days, the team boarded 23 flights and completed up to three installations per day to bring Starlink to all 14 NPS locations along the Nunavik coast.

“Each day, it was essentially, ‘Load, install, go,’” said Chris Rivington, Lead Installer for FSET, who tracked the journey geographically on his phone. “At the end of each day, we’d start mapping out the next. Plan, execute, repeat.”

While the pace was fast and the job was foremost, the team appreciated the people, scenery, and communities. In the snow-covered hills of Salluit, artisans are renowned for their intricate carvings that embody the Arctic spirit. Kangiqsualujjuaq, at the eastern entrance of the vast George River, has migrating caribou herds that are part of the local culture. Aupaluk, the smallest community, is distinguished by its vivid red terrain due to rich iron ore deposits. Tasiujaq, near the high-tide Leaf Basin, and Ivujivik, with its dramatic cliffside where the Hudson Strait meets the Arctic Ocean, both highlight the unique geography of Nunavik.

From each community to the next—some of them smaller than the runway that we landed on—the positive image and presence of the NPS became more apparent. It is community policing at its finest, where officers are embraced rather than opposed, and welcomed rather than avoided.

A New Era in Nunavik Policing

Residential Starlink has been present in Nunavik for some time, but until recently, the NPS had been running on an excruciatingly slow community internet connection. We experienced both connections during our time there and the difference was glaring. The transformative impact of Starlink on the NPS is both immediate and profound.

Prior to the installation, the NPS struggled with connectivity that was not only unreliable but at times unusable, hampering every aspect of their operations from routine communications to critical response capabilities. Now, equipped with reliable, high-speed internet, the changes are remarkable.

Officers previously accustomed to extended delays in sending emails or accessing online resources now experience real-time communications. Within minutes of setting up the new systems, internet speeds skyrocketed from 30 kb to 250 to 350 Mbps—essentially a thousandfold increase. The drastic improvement has revolutionized how the NPS manages its digital evidence. With Axon’s Digital Evidence Management system fully operational, evidence that once took hours to upload can now be handled in moments, streamlining case processing and significantly enhancing the efficiency of legal proceedings.

Beyond logistical improvements, the upgrade further enhances the NPS’ community policing model. The ability to share information swiftly and reliably means officers spend less time at their desks and more time in their communities. Their constant presence helps build and maintain trust with residents. Officers are visible not just when something is awry, but more often, when everything is going just fine.

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Farther Reach, Faster Data, Safer Communities

As far north in Quebec as you can go, Nunavik is wildly remote and refreshingly serene. It’s a vast, Arctic landscape dotted with 14 communities totalling roughly 14,000 inhabitants along the coastlines of Hudson Bay, Ungava Bay, and Hudson Strait. From Kuujjuaraapik to Kangiqsualujjuaq, each community has its own identity. They are connected by their Inuit heritage and protected by the Nunavik Police Service (NPS).

In 2023, FSET partnered with Axon to transform NPS’ connectivity by installing Starlink high-speed internet. With Starlink now running at NPS’ detachments throughout Nunavik, officers can do their jobs more efficiently and uphold NPS’ mission and promise of not just policing, but truly collaborating with their communities.

Community Policing: The North Star

Rural living—especially as remote and northerly as Nunavik—is much different than city or even suburban living. In turn, so is policing. Crime is not rampant in Nunavik, partly because the communities are close-knit, but more importantly because the NPS helps create that sense of togetherness.

“When we patrol, we say hi to the people,” said Emmanuel Vignola, an NPS constable in Kangiqsualujjuaq. “We know their names. They know our names. We feel welcomed.”

In 2021, the Kativik Regional Government Council made a visible commitment to community policing in changing the name of the Kativik Regional Police Force to the Nunavik Police Service, subtly but specifically replacing the word “force” with “service” to distance itself from aggressive or repressive actions often associated with police interventions.

High-Speed Internet: The Wild Card

Even with a positive image and relatively low crime rate, the NPS faces inherent challenges due to the region’s sheer remoteness. With long stretches of unforgiving terrain to cover, often under extreme winter conditions, connectivity is essential for communications between headquarters, detachments, and officers.

“Policing in Nunavik is hard work mostly because it’s a difficult environment being so isolated,” said NPS Chief Jean-Pierre Larose. “All of our management and filing systems depend on internet access.”

To streamline its operations, the NPS uses Axon’s Digital Evidence Management system, hosted on Evidence.com. The solution provides a centralized platform for managing, storing, and sharing digital evidence. It integrates seamlessly with body-worn cameras, dashcams, and other digital devices to capture high-quality video and audio evidence. Once captured, this evidence is securely uploaded to the cloud, where it can be easily accessed, managed, and shared by authorized personnel.

Digital Evidence Management enhances the efficiency of evidence handling, reducing the time officers spend on administrative tasks and allowing them to dedicate more energy to community engagement. Its robust security features ensure sensitive data is protected against unauthorized access, maintaining the integrity of the evidence and the privacy of the community members involved. Moreover, its ability to streamline the sharing of evidence with legal and judicial entities not only speeds up the legal process but also fosters greater transparency and accountability within the justice system.

For the NPS to fully leverage the capabilities of Axon’s Digital Evidence Management system, a reliable high-speed internet connection is indispensable. For the longest time, that crucial connection was elusive and seemingly unattainable.

Planning a Game-Changing Upgrade

Recognizing the NPS’ need for high-speed internet to effectively use its digital tools, Axon selected FSET to consult on implementing Starlink, the satellite internet service developed by SpaceX.

“We wanted to see how we could serve a remote community where throughput and bandwidth were low,” said Adam Hassan, Director, Sales Engineering & Professional Services for Axon. “The dream was always high-speed. When Starlink became available and we learned about FSET assisting with Starlink installs, it was a no-brainer.”

Starlink uses a constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide broadband internet, particularly in remote and rural areas where traditional internet infrastructure is not feasible. The low orbit of these satellites reduces the latency often experienced with traditional satellite internet, allowing for much faster data transmission rates.

As a leading Starlink installer in Canada and longtime IT project partner to Axon, FSET is uniquely equipped to bring Starlink to remote communities and police services across the country. FSET’s, Axon’s, and Starlink’s respective missions all tie back to enabling connectivity as a driver of the things that every community needs: safety, opportunities, infrastructure, and visible digital equity. In preparation for an exciting trip to the far north, FSET managed and coordinated procurement, logistics, and scheduling to deploy high-performance Starlink mobile flat mount kits on site for the NPS at its headquarters and community detachments.

An Uplifting and Exhilarating Experience

The trek to Nunavik took our installation and documentation team from Kenora, where FSET is based, first to Winnipeg for a flight to Montreal. Then we hopped a second flight to Kuujjuaq, or “Great River,” for the first installation at the NPS’ headquarters.

After getting settled in and meeting the NPS’ team face to face, the expansive project kicked into high gear. Over the course of six working days, the team boarded 23 flights and completed up to three installations per day to bring Starlink to all 14 NPS locations along the Nunavik coast.

“Each day, it was essentially, ‘Load, install, go,’” said Chris Rivington, Lead Installer for FSET, who tracked the journey geographically on his phone. “At the end of each day, we’d start mapping out the next. Plan, execute, repeat.”

While the pace was fast and the job was foremost, the team appreciated the people, scenery, and communities. In the snow-covered hills of Salluit, artisans are renowned for their intricate carvings that embody the Arctic spirit. Kangiqsualujjuaq, at the eastern entrance of the vast George River, has migrating caribou herds that are part of the local culture. Aupaluk, the smallest community, is distinguished by its vivid red terrain due to rich iron ore deposits. Tasiujaq, near the high-tide Leaf Basin, and Ivujivik, with its dramatic cliffside where the Hudson Strait meets the Arctic Ocean, both highlight the unique geography of Nunavik.

From each community to the next—some of them smaller than the runway that we landed on—the positive image and presence of the NPS became more apparent. It is community policing at its finest, where officers are embraced rather than opposed, and welcomed rather than avoided.

A New Era in Nunavik Policing

Residential Starlink has been present in Nunavik for some time, but until recently, the NPS had been running on an excruciatingly slow community internet connection. We experienced both connections during our time there and the difference was glaring. The transformative impact of Starlink on the NPS is both immediate and profound.

Prior to the installation, the NPS struggled with connectivity that was not only unreliable but at times unusable, hampering every aspect of their operations from routine communications to critical response capabilities. Now, equipped with reliable, high-speed internet, the changes are remarkable.

Officers previously accustomed to extended delays in sending emails or accessing online resources now experience real-time communications. Within minutes of setting up the new systems, internet speeds skyrocketed from 30 kb to 250 to 350 Mbps—essentially a thousandfold increase. The drastic improvement has revolutionized how the NPS manages its digital evidence. With Axon’s Digital Evidence Management system fully operational, evidence that once took hours to upload can now be handled in moments, streamlining case processing and significantly enhancing the efficiency of legal proceedings.

Beyond logistical improvements, the upgrade further enhances the NPS’ community policing model. The ability to share information swiftly and reliably means officers spend less time at their desks and more time in their communities. Their constant presence helps build and maintain trust with residents. Officers are visible not just when something is awry, but more often, when everything is going just fine.