Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service
|Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service|
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|Logo of the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service.|
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NAPS is the largest First Nations police agency in Canada and the second largest in North America. NAPS is responsible for a jurisdiction that includes two-thirds of Ontario, a land area approximately the size of France. NAPS receives 48% of its funding from the government of Ontario, and 52% from the government of Canada.
The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service was formed on January 14, 1994 through a tri-partite agreement between the governments of Canada, Ontario, and the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. The primary goal of the agreement is the establishment of an aboriginal agency to provide efficient, effective and culturally appropriate policing to the Nishnawbe-Aski communities.
The first phase of the agreement began on April 1, 1994 and lasted four years, when all First Nation constable positions were transferred from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to NAPS. Phase two began on January 1, 1998 when Wahgoshig, Matachewan, Mattagami, Brunswick House, Chapleau Ojibwe, Chapleau Cree, Constance Lake and Aroland First Nations were transferred.
The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service gained responsibility for the OPPs Northwest Patrol Unit on June 1, 1998, excluding the communities of Big Trout Lake, Weagamow, Muskrat Dam, and Pikangikum. An Operations Transition Committee was formed to oversee the transfer of administrative and operations matter between NAPS and the OPP. The transition was complete on April 1, 1999.
Many NAPS detachments fail to meet national building codes and many officers live in crowded conditions or lack residences in the communities in which they serve. On February 25, 2008 Chief Jonathan Soloman of Kashechewan First Nation gave the Government of Ontario 30 days to start relieving the situation or he would pull his community out of the NAPS policing agreement. On March 26, 2008, Chief Soloman extended the deadline after receiving indication that the Canadian and Ontario governments were interested in resolving policing issues in NAPS-served communities. A new policing agreement was reached in 2009 but funding for infrastructure shortcomings remains unresolved.
Out of 35 detachments, only the Moose Cree First Nation detachment meets building codes. A fire at the Kashechewan First Nation detachment on January 9, 2006 killed two persons held in the lockup and severely injured an officer during a rescue attempt.
The Kasabonika First Nation detachment was closed in early February 2008 as it lacked running water and relied on a wood fire in a 170 litre drum to heat the facility. Holding cells lacked toilet facilities, requiring detainees to use a slop bucket. Prisoners now must be flown to Sioux Lookout, costing as much as $10,000 per trip.
"A Sacred Calling"
A Sacred Calling is an 18 minute documentary which focuses on the difficulties of policing remote NAN communities in Northern Ontario which are compounded by insufficient funding. The documentary was made by Deputy Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald, who hopes the film will get attention from the federal and provincial governments to help rectify the situation. The film shows officers living in motels, and using wood blocks to hold inmates in their cells.
The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service is governed by a board consisting of a representative of each Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Tribal Council. An independent review board ensures accountability to the communities.