Portage La Prairie, Manitoba – The First Nations Chiefs of Police Association (FNCPA) is welcoming the announcement of new federal funding for First Nations policing and its potential to address the most immediate and dire needs facing First Nations police services.
“We welcome the new funds,” says FNCPA President Dwayne Zacharie, “but at this point, we have a lot of questions and concerns about how this new funding will be prioritized and rolled out so that historical inequities do not become entrenched in the way individual First Nations police services are funded going forward. It’s not yet clear what is and is not included in this funding so what it will ultimately mean to our member services and their communities is unknown at this time.”
Over the past five years, the FNCPA and its members have worked with the Public Safety Canada to clearly outline the needs and challenges facing First Nations police services and offered solutions–the key one being for First Nations police services to be entrenched as an essential service with the same recognition, resourcing, and support as other community police services across the country.
“The need to provide more funding for First Nations police services has been well researched and documented by the Auditor General, Public Safety Canada, and others for several years now,” says Zacharie. “We are relieved to hear that some of those needs may be addressed through this new funding. However, continuing to work within the First Nations Policing Program is not a viable option except as an unfortunate stop-gap measure over the short term. As a policing model, the FNPP has failed to adequately support First Nations police services. In order to make real progress, First Nations policing needs to be entrenched as an essential service as soon as possible.”
“We look forward to working with the Minister over the next few months to make that happen,” concludes Zacharie. “We already know what’s needed. Now is the time to get it done.”