January 14, 2019: Police Chief Keith Blake of the Tsuu T'ina Nation website
Shelley Dyson introduced our guest speaker, Police Chief Keith Blake of the Tsuu T'ina Nation. He has been in this role since May 16, 2013. Prior to this, he worked his way through the ranks of the RCMP for 20 years, with all of his assignments being in Alberta.
The Tsuu T'ina Band has about 2,200 members, but not all live on the reservation, on which there are about 500 homes.
In most cases, reservations are policed by the RCMP, but in 2004 the Tsuu T'ina Band was accredited by the Solicitor General of Alberta, and has grown the force steadily from the original 10 officers to the current number of 26, most of them indigenous, and 25% of them are female.
17 officers are funded by the nation, and nine by the provincial and federal governments. They are operating out of new offices, and are well positioned for new growth of three commercial and business sites, all adjacent to the City of Calgary.
The force focuses on two main areas:
The police regularly visit homes to maintain a relationship with band members, and in the tradition of respecting Elders, hold Elders Teas where they get input on what’s working and what needs improvement. Data gathered from home visits and Elder Teas is used in strategic planning.
As a visible show of respect for families, following a death the police provide escorts to funeral homes, funerals and burials.
In addressing the cost to society and to the band in dealing with convictions, the police force is developing an alternative justice program that develops agreement between the victims, the accused, the courts, involving all family members, to provide constructive solutions in which repetition is substantially reduced.
The community service aspect of policing is largely focused on youth, to prevent future issues through engagement. Much of the strategic planning involves threat assessment and safety planning.
The Tsuu T'ina police force partners with other agencies, including the RCMP and, in particular, the Calgary City police. They do not currently have the sophisticated capability to process a crime scene, and rely on Calgary police to take care of that. The RCMP does not have the personnel to effect prompt responses as well as the Calgary force does.
The Tsuu T'ina nation is relatively small, with about 260 square kilometres of land adjacent to the SW side of Calgary. The Tsuu T'ina are Dene, also known as Athabaskan.
Sa’adat Keshavjee thanked Chief Blake, and presented him with our world-famous Boltman.
reported by Don Campbell
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