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Sask. Indigenous leaders call for immediate implementation of P.A. police recommendations, full review release | CBC News

Indigenous leaders are calling for the Prince Albert Police Service and its governing bodies to swiftly implement dozens of recommendations stemming from an independent review of policing in the northern Saskatchewan city.

The Saskatchewan government released the list of 45 recommendations stemming from that report Tuesday. But the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, is calling on the government to release the full report.

“[The recommendations] are not the report itself,” said Dutch Lerat, the federation’s 2nd vice chief, during a news conference in Saskatoon Wednesday morning.

“We call for the release of the report.… We continue to review the recommendations, but the full report has to be available to evaluate the recommendations.”

Christine Tell, minister of corrections, policing and public safety, ordered a review into the Prince Albert police in November 2022, following three in-custody deaths in 2021 and the death of baby Tanner Brass in 2022.

The conduct of the Prince Albert police has come into further question since then. The Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team, the province’s main police oversight agency, is investigating two separate incidents in which the action of police officers resulted in Indigenous men dying.

Rod Knecht, a former chief of the Edmonton Police Service, was appointed to examine the service. He submitted his report to minister Tell in the spring of 2023.

The review produced 45 recommendations to improve policing and police governance in Prince Albert. The provincial government released a list of the recommendations Tuesday, but did not release the full report, which Tell had previously said her ministry would do.

The recommendations focused mainly on administrative and policy issues within the Prince Albert Police Service and the city’s police board of commissioners.

Among other things, Knecht suggested the police service develop and update discipline policy and policing practices, and appoint an external candidate as its new chief. He also suggested removing the mayor as a member of the board.

During Wednesday’s media event at FSIN headquarters, Lerat and other First Nations leaders called for the Prince Albert police and the city’s board of police commissioners to immediately implement the recommendations.

On Tuesday, interim police Chief Patrick Nogier committed to reviewing and implementing the recommendations. Janet Carriere, chair of the board of police commissioners, said the board has already instilled some of the recommendations and is working on applying others.

Minister Tell also said her ministry is working with police, the board of commissioners and the local police union to implement the recommendations.

The Prince Albert Grand Council, which represents 12 First Nations and 28 northern communities, wants one of the recommendations to be expanded, however.

Recommendation 28 states the provincial government should have a representative on the board of police commissioners, because of its funding contributions to public safety and policing in Prince Albert.

Two Indigenous men sit next to each other in black leather desk chairs. Four microphones sit in front of them. The man on the right has straight charcoal hair and a grey moustache. He is wearing a black vest over a grey t-shirt. The man on the left is wearing a green beret, glasses and a black vest over a light-blue button-up shirt.
Brian Hardlotte, grand Chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council, right, wants the grand council to be represented on the Prince Albert board of police commissioners. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said Tuesday that the grand council ought to have a representative on the board as well.

“Their inclusion will contribute valuable perspective, insights and expertise in the decision-making process, and ensure there is community representation on the board,” Hardlotte said.

“This will make sure our community’s voice is heard and respected.”

Collaboration between the board and grand council would further help keep the community safe, he said.


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