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First Nations Safety Officer Training provided by ACC

First Nations Safety Officer Training provided by ACC

Written On: 04 May, 2016
Category: Indigenous Community Partnerships

With the discontinuation of the Band Constable Program that was established in the 1960s, Assiniboine Community College offers provincial approved mandatory training for First Nations Safety Officers.

This past winter and spring, four three-week training sessions were held in Thompson, Brandon and Dauphin providing Level 1 training and support. This program was offered to participants from 31 First Nation’s communities across Manitoba.

There were four different cohorts of students each totaling around thirty students. “It was a lot to pull together in a short period of time but Thompson was our test run; it worked well,” said Jack Ewatski, instructor for the First Nation Safety Officer (FNSO) Training. Ewatski is a former Winnipeg Chief of Police who has over thirty-six years of policing experience.

He started as an ACC trainer in 2014 with a special program that was run for Indigenous students who were seeking a career in public safety. He has instructed in a number of programs with ACC over the past two years.

Following amendments to the Police Services Act in 2014, the college was approached regarding the mandatory training component of the FNSO program. “The goal was to put together curriculum and have   approximately 110 individuals trained by March 31 of this year,” said Ewatski. The First Nations Safety Officer Program provides an avenue for specialized training for First Nation communities that face unique public safety needs.

ACC partners with First Nation communities across the province. “We pride ourselves in partnering and providing relevant training within First Nation communities,” said Karen Hargreaves, Dean of Health & Human Services.

The training focuses on public safety, crime prevention, social services, enforcement powers, and administrative tasks.

With this training, the safety officers will be well equipped to face various situations which they will encounter in their communities. “They are to have a physical presence within their community as an authority figure and as peace-keepers,” said Ewatski.

These officers will be responsible for crime prevention, enforcing band bylaws and some specific provincial laws. They will work closely with local law enforcement agencies.

Ewatski thinks the FNSO program is a fantastic step in setting up some structure to the training needed within First Nation communities. “This training will provide some legal authority to the officers as well as structure in terms of qualifications and mandated training, proper equipment and try to bring some uniformity to these positions throughout the province,” he said.

“With our high success rate in working with First Nations partners and successfully completing two Aboriginal police studies programs in St. Theresa Point and in Brandon,” said Hargreaves, “we look forward to be part of this new initiative now and in the future.”

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