Frog Lake Nation celebrated the opening of a satellite police detachment on Friday, which saw the Nation’s Chief and council stand alongside high-ranking RCMP members showing their support for the new station and the opportunity for a new start.
The detachment, which has long been in the works for the Nation, will enable officers to respond to calls within the community much faster, whereas in the past officers responding from Elk Point could be a least a half-hour away.
The station’s opening was attended by many members of the community, and began with a pipe ceremony that included several high-ranking RCMP personal, including Deputy Commissioner and Commanding Officer of Alberta Curtis Zablocki, Chief Superintendent Wendell Reimer, Superintendent Jason McAdam, and Inspector Ed Moreland, amongst others.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen so much brass in one place,” said Sgt. Dave Henry of Elk Point RCMP.
The station will be staffed by two Elk Point RCMP members at a time, which will include constable Brett Holt as the station’s head of command.
Chief Greg Desjarlais hopes that in the future the station will grow.
“We have the vision of a full-fledged police force and detachment, but for now we’ll have the sub-detachment, and we’re very happy to have it opened up to the public,” said Desjarlais.
The detachment is part of a string of recent efforts by Desjarlais and Council to address long-standing social problems within the community, such as drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and mental health concerns.
The community is also hoping that the detachment will allow a more positive relationship to develop between the Nation and law enforcement.
“The satellite detachment will add an aspect and safety that we’re kind of missing right now with the spike in crime and drug use,” said Desjarlais. “With drug use comes crime, and we want to try alleviate that on the Nation, and make this place a safer place for our people.
“This is also for our young people. Our elders, our members, and I want them to feel safe when they’re driving up and down Highway 897 or going to the store.”
Sergeant Henry presented Chief Desjarlais a hand-crafted rattle on behalf of Elk Point RCMP to commemorate the opening as well as to demonstrate the shared goal of co-operation between the Nation and Elk Point’s officers.
Desjarlais made mention of the Nation’s young men in a speech, touching on subjects such as love and respect.
“Our young men need to stand up and be providers for their family and to show their children a good way in life, and to be a good man. Our Father talks about being respectful to motherhood, because that’s where we all came from.”
Plans for a new church on Nation land are in the works as part of an ongoing wrap-around plan the Nation has in mind.
Chief Desjarlais and Deputy Commissioner Zablocki officially registered the station in a joint signing, which was met with applause from the crowd.