With concerns within first nations communities about policing at the forefront this year, St. Mary’s First Nation is looking into a new way to serve and protect their community.
The contact between St. Mary’s First Nation and the Fredericton Police Force has been up for renewal since 2019, but before signing on the dotted line until 2029, Chief Allan Polchies wants an independent third party to review policing of the First Nation’s territory to meet the band council’s bylaws.
"We’re also looking at possibly tribal police as well as a way of curbing, you know … maybe that’s a solution to looking at our bylaws and using the Fredericton City Police on our crime level," Polchies said.
The First Nations policing agreement is between the St. Mary’s First Nation, federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government.
Polchies says there were areas they felt they were not fully being served under the current agreement.
"We’re not signing on until we have a clear understanding that our bylaws can be honoured through the Fredericton City Police," he said.
Polchies says policing in the province needs to be instructed on how to end systemic racism within the justice system and should have cultural sensitivity training.
Fredericton police say dialogues are happening across the province with respect to indigenous rights and policing.
In a statement to CTV, the force goes on to say that their agreement with St. Mary's is still being negotiated and "at this time, the Fredericton police force continues to provide the same level of policing services to the people of St. Mary’s First Nation."
Polchies says he has a meeting with the three levels of government on Nov. 24 to further discuss the policing contract, pending the st. Mary's first nation election which takes place on Nov. 16.