First Nation Policing Needs Full Funding

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During the Toys for the North Trip, NAPS Officers and RCMP Officers unloaded water in Ogoki Post
During the Toys for the North Trip in 2014, NAPS Officers and RCMP Officers unloaded water in Ogoki Post - The community is still under a boil water order.

Nishnawbe-Aski Police officer Steven Hookimaw participated in the parade.
Nishnawbe-Aski Police officer Steven Hookimaw

THUNDER BAY – Policing is a career, and for many a calling to a life of service to community. For Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service Officers it means long hours in remote communities where back-up can be hours away. Funding for NAPS is far lower than for other police services.

As just witnessed in Fort Severn Ontario, officers serving in remote communities face unique challenges. An officer in the NAPS detachment in Fort Severn recently came under fire from what so far are unknown persons.

NAPS Officers
NAPS patrol and area about two thirds the size of Ontario, serving in their communities and area.

The issue of funding for NAPS is a federal issue. The Public Service Alliance of Canada has launched a letter writing campaign to encourage Canadians to write to the Prime Minister and Premier of Ontario to end the issues with systemic underfunding of NAPS and First Nations Policing.

PSAC Ontario is calling members and the public to send a letter the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne to stop discriminatory underfunding of First Nations policing.

The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service officers provide culturally sensitive policing services in 35 First Nation communities, covering two thirds of Ontario, from Thunder Bay to Hudson’s Bay. These officers are working alone without proper infrastructure, support, or back up.

“Through this campaign, we are calling on federal and provincial commitment to rectify this injustice immediately. Officers and community members have been bearing the burden of underfunding too long,” said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Regional Executive Vice President for Ontario.

To send your letter PSAC offers the following link: Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Here is the text of the letter that PSAC is sending:

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada

Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario

Subject: Underfunding of First Nations Policing

Dear Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Wynne,

The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service officers provide culturally sensitive policing services in 35 First Nation communities, covering two thirds of Ontario, from Thunder Bay to Hudson’s Bay.

Currently, these officers are working alone without proper infrastructure, support, or back up. This discriminatory underfunding of First Nations policing needs to stop.

I am writing to demand a commitment at federal and provincial levels to rectify this injustice immediately. Officers and community members have been bearing the burden of underfunding too long.

It is clear that the employer doesn’t have the power to provide the staffing and infrastructure required to protect the officers and by extension, community members.

This isn’t about wages alone. The long-term effects of these working conditions are apparent as close to 20% of NAPS’s complement of officers are currently on a stress-related leave. It is reaching crisis levels and officers are paying the price while communities are not being served. They need resources from the government in order to tackle these important issues.

I am demanding the federal and provincial Liberal governments fund First Nations Policing in a manner that is equitable to the support received by other police officers in similar situations.

I look forward to your reply.

Your message will be automatically copied to the MP and MPP in your riding and PSAC’s Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President, Sharon DeSousa.