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Federal funding will go long way for Sask. Indigenous police force
Published Thursday, January 11, 2018 6:07PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, January 11, 2018 6:42PM CST
Federal investment in First Nations police forces will go a long for the only Indigenous police force in the province.
The Government of Canada announced a $300 million investment on Wednesday to help make Indigenous communities safer. The money will be used to hire 110 new positions over the next five years across the country.
“We expect the policing service to be invigorated by the extra resources that we’re putting in,” said Ralph Goodale, federal minister of public safety.
The File Hills Police Service is the only self-administered service in Saskatchewan. It polices a number of different First Nations in the area.
“Generally people are, I guess you could say, cautiously optimistic about it,” said Chief Lennard Busch with the service.
Busch said even more officer added to the force would make a huge impact.
“Being a small police service, we have no one to draw on if somebody goes off on leave, or sick, or training,” Busch said. “So, it really puts a strain on our current resource level from time to time. If we had the extra bodies here, it would certainly alleviate that for us.”
Some of the federal funding will also go to upgrading and maintaining equipment. Police have to travel through rough terrain in the area, and it can be hard on vehicles.
“Our funding model hasn’t really kept up with that, so every year there seems to be a little additional strain on the resources we do have,” Busche said. “This will certainly take the pressure off there.”
Busch is hoping for police services like his to be deemed an essential service.
“We just want some recognition that we’re not going to be a program forever,” he said.
In 2016, there were 185 police service agreements covering more than 400,000 people who live in First Nations and Inuit communities across Canada.
Based on a report by CTV Yorkton's Cole Davenport