Feds approve new First Nations Policing officer for Smithers

Hiring has been delayed by a pandemic moratorium

Smithers RCMP will be getting a second First Nations Policing member.

In his May 12 report to Smithers Town Council, Smithers detachment Staff Sgt. Terry Gillespie announced the additional officer. The position will be funded by the federal (52 per cent) and provincial (48 per cent) governments.

“This will make a big impact to our First Nations Policing service delivery and we are hopeful that it will help further strengthen our relationships,” Gillespie said.

The First Nations Policing Program was established in the 1990s in response to task force report that concluded First Nation and Inuit communities “did not have access to the same level and quality of policing services as did other communities in similar locations” that in many cases were “policing services were ineffective, inefficient and unresponsive” to their needs, according the Public Safety Canada.

A First Nations Policing Officer is expected to: “provide day-to-day policing services to FNs and Inuit communities including enforcement, victim services, crime prevention, school visits, youth interactions, and inter-agency cooperation, and liaison with community.”

This new member is in addition to the new municipal officer council approved in the 2020 budget (funded 70 per cent by the Town and 30 per cent by the feds). That member was scheduled to be hired earlier this year and start in April, but a hiring freeze due to COVID-19 has put both new positions on hold until further notice.

When filled, the two positions will bring the detachment compliment up to 35.5 people including 10 municipal officers, six provincial officers, two First Nations officers, four provincial traffic services officers, 3.5 municipal clerical staff; two provincial clerical staff, eight detention guards/matrons, one victim services manager, three victim services volunteers and two volunteer auxiliary constables.

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