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"Indian Not Ready For Own Police Force" - Kelly

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 1972      v03 n04 p03  
What type of policing should Indians have? According to retired Deputy Commissioner Kelly of the R.C.M.P. Indian people are not ready for their own police force but rather should look to policing through special constables under the supervision of the R.C.M.P.

Speaking to our 100 delegates and observers at the Provincial Chiefs Conference, April 10th at the Bessborough Hotel in Saskatoon the former Deputy Commissioner stated his views on Indian policing and his current project with a task force in Ottawa to find a solution for Indian policing.

"The public have the right to be policed by their own kind and the people of Canada should aim for this," he told the audience.

He went on to point out that the language and cultural difficulties that Indian people are faced with and the special problems this brings.

"The present type of policing on Indian reserves is not good enough," he continued. "Policing is only complaint oriented and the police only show up when a complaint is made and then leave after the arrests are made."

"Indian people have the right to expect the best policing possible and you will not get satisfactory policing until you decide the type you want."

Deputy Commissioner Kelly then went on to explain three options available to Indian people.

First was the band council policing or special constable. Band Council Policing merely enforces bylaws such as the control of dogs, sanitation, etc. The special constable is empowered to carry out the criminal code and can make any necessary arrests. "This is the best system at the present time," he told the assembly.

The second option is that of a municipal police force. Mr. Kelly gave the example of reserves that are within or close to an area that is served by a municipal police force. The Capillonu reserve in North Vancouver for example purchased police services from the city of North Vancouver. It is doubtful that this could be successfully adopted in Saskatchewan.

The third and final option is that of a separate Indian police force. Mr. Kelly outlined the advantages and disadvantages.

The Band Council would be responsible for policing, they would, have a direct support with local police forces. The band could appoint and fire their own constables and there would be a local police presence on the reserve.

The disadvantages would be: no backup system, or small reserves a police constable might have to work by himself a lot of the time, there would be no effective training program and local politics might inhibit and effect a constable's performance.

The former Deputy Commission felt that the funding of a police force would not pose any particular problems. "The R.C.M.P. is willing to assist in the funding of local police forces," he said.

In closing Mr. Kelly stated he was sympathetic to the Indian cause and felt that we must continue to seek the support and sympathy of the white majority.