Treaty Three Police Service
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|Treaty Three Police Service|
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|Logo of the Treaty Three Police Service.|
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Nationally, standards for First Nations Constable recruitment and attendance at formal police colleges, varies from province to province, however since inception all Treaty Three Officers meet all applicable Ontario provincial training standards and attend the same courses as Ontario police officers.
Formally incorporated on April 1, 2003, the Treaty Three Police Service assumed all on-reserve policing duties in the area of Treaty 3 from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). Currently serving officers were recertified and signed on and the initial group of 12 newly hired recruits attended the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario in spring of 2003.
Mission statement and motto
The T3PS's Police Services Board established its Mission Statement, which explicitly set out in the Articles of Incorporation as:
T3PS's motto is "policing for the people by the people".
The City of Kenora hosts the T3PS's Headquarters on Round Lake, where Chief of Police Louis Napish took over for interim Chief Dan Davidson and his immediate predecessor, Conrad DeLaronde. From there the command staff oversees daily operations. Brian Rupert was the inaugural Chief until his retirement in October 2008. Until his recent retirement, Deputy Chief Ernest Jones is his counterpart in Couchiching First Nation until his retirement in the summer of 2006. Deputy Chief Larry Indian replaced Jones after three years, evacuating the unsafe and underfunded Couchiching OPP First Nations Program Detachment. He then commanded the Couchiching Sub Division from OPP Emo Detachment, Emo, Ontario until the move to a new facility on Agency One land near Couchiching. The sub-division became the more appropriately named South sub-division.
In Kenora, Deputy Chief Wally MacLeod initially oversaw the Kenora Sub Division until his retirement in 2006. Deputy Chief Louie Napish served as second in command of T3PS until he retired. Long time OPP liaison Terry Armstrong assumed that position after many years seconded from the OPP. Assisting them were two Staff Sergeants, Jim Harty, Kenora detachment commander, and Richard Darling, head of administration. Treaty Three has its own Crime Unit also based in Kenora led by OPP Detective Sergeant Rob Bears for several years until Doug McKenzie was eventually seconded in 2011. Terry Armstrong was interim Crime Manager until his promotion to Deputy Chief. Like other police services, the Detective branch runs parallel to the front line officers. After McKenzie returned to the OPP the crime unit was greatly reduced and supervised by Detective Sergeant Terry McCartney. After several resignations and reassignment HQ is now run by Chief Napish, Deputy Chief Richard Darling, and Staff Sergeant Jackie Genaile. Staff Sergeant Cheryl Mandarin currently commands Kenora Detachment, while Staff Sergeant Lockman is serving as South Sub Division Detachment Commander when Deputy Chief Larry Indian retired in fall of 2013.
Each Sub-division (one for each district, the physical building is sometimes referred to as "detachment", a holdover term from the OPP program) employs a number of Sergeants who answer to the sub-division commander in the day-to-day operations. Front line policing is performed by officers with the rank of Constable. After graduating from Ontario Police College and a probationary period, each recruit is granted the rank of Fourth Class constable, promoted based on experience and performance, and reaching the rank of First Class constable within three years.
Treaty Three Officers are sworn peace officers in the Province of Ontario and the service currently has 85 sworn members, with more being hired as resources permit. Some of those officers have come from the OPP and its First Nations Program (the precursor to T3PS), Lac Seul Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service. The vast majority of the members grew up in the area, with some coming as far as Winnipeg and Southern Ontario.
Currently T3PS uses the Chevrolet Impala SS, Chevrolet Tahoe, and recently the Chevrolet Sierra after the OPP Ford Crown Victoria, Ford Expedition and Ford Excursion were phased out. Also in service are boats and Polaris UTVs, allowing for a variety of deployment methods.
T3PS also uses the same personal equipment, radio and computer systems and training system (such as the annual "block training" in CPR/First Aid, recent case law, investigative techniques and Use of Force" ) as the OPP, since the majority of the equipment and operations used by the First nations program is still used by the current service, allowing ease of use, and greater cooperation between neighbouring forces until T3PS can provide its own in-service training units and new police facilities.
Continuing upgrades to the OPP radio equipment were also adopted by Treaty Three Police. Treaty Three as of 2008 became part of the Wide Area Network. An officer from Kenora can quickly communicate with virtually anyone in the province via the Provincial Communications Center in Thunder Bay and/or the other four Provincial Communications Centers in London, Orillia, Smith Falls and North Bay.
Equipment and Uniforms
The original OPP administered uniforms and shoulder flashes specific to individual reserves were retired and replaced with a navy blue uniform slightly lighter than the OPP uniforms. The T3PS symbol, created by a local resident, was adopted as the new shoulder flash. Black armour vests and ball caps with the T3PS symbol replaced the OPP stetson and blue armour, and the duty belt and equipment pouches were replaced with a basket weave design. The original white cruisers were replaced with brown Impalas and Tahoes. The original units have since been upgraded to a fleet of over 20 Chevrolet Impalas, Chevrolet Tahoes and Toyota RAV4s. All have been painted black with gold decals. As a cost savings measure T3PS began purchasing GMC Sierra's when the Tahoe's "miled out".
Introduced in 2003 in time for the graduation of the first 14 officers hired and subsequent ceremony in Kenora was the dress uniform. All black with gold along the tunic closure and along the pants seam, the uniform differs from other traditional dress uniforms by dropping the tie for a military style mandarin collar, vaguely reminiscent of the uniforms worn by First Nations Chiefs in the time of the Treaty 3 Signing.
Treaty Three Police services 18,550 First Nations residents in 28 First Nation Territories in the Kenora and Rainy River districts. Due to the vast patrol area, (55,000 square miles) T3PS was divided into two major "sub-divisions" with smaller satellite detachments left over from the OPP administered program. The Kenora Sub-division was headquartered on Ochiichagwe'Babigo'Ining Ojibway Nation. Kenora Sub Division is now run out of the new Headquarters on Round Lake. Territories in the Rainy River district operated out of the Emo OPP detachment east of Manitou Rapids First Nations while Couchiching sub-division was relocated between fall of 2007 and spring 2011 from Couchiching First Nation near Fort Frances, Ontario while the new building was approved and constructed. Having been placed on "Agency One" land given to several local territories jointly, the detachment was renamed Treaty Three South Sub-Division
The Treaty Three Police Service General Headquarters and the Kenora Sub-Division are housed in the same building in Kenora. The Couchiching Sub–division was housed at the Emo OPP Detachment until the new South Sub-Division was opened in March 2011 on Couchiching First Nations.
2013 Budget Issues
Starting in March 2013, Treaty Three Police was forced into a position of laying off officers due to a chronic shortage of funding. According to the local Minister of Parliament Greg Rickford, the blame is solely on the Ontario Government which transferred money into an "Officer Recruitment Fund" to hire more officers, without a plan on what to do once the Officer Recruitment Fund was used up.
In an effort to keep Treaty Three Police Service in existence, Police Chief Conrad Delaronde and the Chiefs of the communities it serves, had ignored the collective bargaining agreement, introduced a number of cost cutting measures such as wage cuts, and the elimination of paid maternity leave, effectively reversing a recent arbitration decision to bring the officers to OPP parity.
The Treaty Three Police Officers Union opposed these measures and requested the Board of Directors abide by the current contract, which expires in March 2014. According to Treaty Three Police Service management and the Chiefs of the communities, unless costs are drastically cut or a funding increase from the Federal or Provincial governments happens - the Chiefs have elected to disband the Police Service entirely to prevent the First Nations from accruing more financial obligations (the First Nations will be liable for any debts incurred by the Police Service). The officers were given 45 days notice. According to the Policing Agreement between Grand Council Treaty Three, the Ontario Government, and the Federal Government, withdrawal requires 12 months notice.
Within hours of the announcement, a grassroots Facebook movement arose to generate support for the officers, questioning the speed, wisdom and legality of the decision to "bust the union"
After a series of meetings and talks the Chiefs dissolved the old board and replaced those members with Chiefs that essentially worked to replace themselves with community members within months and renew the fight for adequate funding. In a surprise move, Chief Delaronde, Deputy Chief Armstrong and Deputy Chief Indian all resigned. The PSAC and Board then went to closed doors meetings. By the time Chief Delaronde relinquished command to Interim Chief of Police Dan Davidson, and after a number of controversial changes began to affect the budget, T3PS was in better, albeit still underfunded state. The layoff notice was then rescinded by Chief Davidson and the new board in preparation for a new effort to work with the officers and PSAC to negotiate a new contract, seek better funding while addressing community concerns within the current budget.
As of April 2014, little to no progress was made in negotiations. Part of the problem was the board, not yet transitioned back to civilian control, had not completed the process for hiring a new Chief of Police to replace Chief Davidson. On a positive note, T3PS was in the process of restoring its authorized strength by a combination of experienced and new hires.
Less than a year later Louis Napish returned to T3PS to serve as Chief of Police. By fall of 2014 the board will have completed transition into a civilian board.