UOI OFFICES (Nipissing First Nation) May 9, 2014 – The lives of First Nations police officers continue to be at risk because recommendations from the Ipperwash Inquiry have been gathering dust for the past seven years.
Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee was commenting on the May 6 report of the Auditor General of Canada which criticized the federal government.
“We’re calling on Ontario and Canada to finally come to the table to resolve the inequities in policing that are putting our constables and citizens at risk on a daily basis,” said Grand Council Chief Madahbee. “The Auditor General’s report reiterates what we’ve been saying for years: First Nations police services operate with no legislative framework, no transparency, no consultation and constant funding threats.
“Our police forces need our support to be adequately resourced, trained and have a clear direction going forward.”
The Auditor General recommended that Public Safety Canada should work with the Province of Ontario and First Nations to ensure that all self-administered agreements funded through the First Nations Policing Program clearly state that First Nations policing services comply with the provincial legislative framework that applies to all policing services in the province.
Unlike all other policing institutions in Canada, First Nation police services are not governed by legislation. NAPS and APS are not mandated police services, but are funded as programs through agreements with the federal and provincial governments that can be cancelled at any time. There is no funding for permanent detachments or residences, or other vital infrastructure to ensure the safety of officers and community members.
Recommendations from the 2007 Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry included the call for federal and provincial governments to update their policies on First Nation policing to recognize that self-administered First Nation police services in Ontario are the primary police service providers in their communities. Forty of the 100 recommendations involved policing in Ontario. The inquiry was called by the Ontario government after unarmed First Nation protester Dudley George was shot and killed by an Ontario Provincial Police sniper at the former Ipperwash Provincial Park.
“Anishinabek Police officers are often asked to work on their own – we are understaffed,” said Doug Chevrier, Chairperson of the Police Governing Authority for the Anishinabek Police Service which provides policing services to 16 First Nation communities. “This puts not only our officers at risk, but our citizens as well.”
In Anishinabek Nation territory the Anishinabek Police Service (APS) provides policing services for 16 communities, from Kettle and Stony Point First Nation in the south to Fort William First Nation in the north. APS operates 12 detachments with 62 sworn officers and 21 civilian members.