Peel, Halton and York police join forces to learn about Indigenous culture

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Published June 3, 2024 at 7:01 pm

Ontario, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, police, Indigenous, culture, truth and reconciliation

Peel Regional Police (PRP), Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) and York Regional Police Service (YRPS) teamed up with the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS) in northern Ontario to learn more about Indigenous culture.

Operation Northern Exposure, supported by the Ontario Association of Chiefs, saw six groups of six officers from the PRP, HRPS and YRP sent over two-week periods from January to May to the northern communities of Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Attawapiskat to strengthen police-Indigenous relationships and support truth and reconciliation efforts.

Done for a second straight year in recognition of National Indigenous History Month, the five-month outreach involved officers from the southern Ontario forces attending calls for service, engaging with community members, and immersing themselves in northern and Indigenous culture and practices.

Police said operation allowed the officers to build positive relations and strong bonds with their NAPS counterparts.

“The Operation Northern Exposure program has given officers in municipal law enforcement a much better understanding of the challenges and opportunities unique to Indigenous policing,” said NAPS Acting Chief of Police Brad Duce. “The cultural training and getting to know the leaders and band members in our communities, combined with the experience of policing in Ontario’s remote far north, has given these officers new perspective that will help them grow both professionally and personally.”

Officers were able to learn the history of each community and its residents and how important that is by listening to survivors, families, and elders.

A short video highlighting their experiences was made by each police force and those insights will help inform them in their work in their own communities.

The videos will be shared via their own social channels over the next three weeks and will be put into one video, which will premiere at the 2nd Annual Safety of our Cities Conference being held Sept 16 to 18 in Peel Region.

The video, produced by NAPS, will be released June 21 to make National Indigenous Peoples Day.

“I’m also very proud of our NAPS officers, whose unique insights and experiences helped mad the Operation Northern Exposure program such a success for everyone involved,” added Duce.

The idea for Operation Northern Exposure came out of joint proposal by the HRPS and NAPS to take part in a ride-along program. The program would expand to include operational police duties and longer lengths of deployment.

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