Prince Albert’s new Deputy Chief of Police, Farica Prince, was sworn into office in a ceremony that included strong reminders of Prince’s Indigenous heritage and messages about relationship building between cultures and law enforcement.
Prince was drummed into the room at the EA Rawlinson Centre followed by a ceremony that was started with an opening prayer by the PAPS’ Elder Leonard (Bunny) Ermine on October 1.
A welcome was extended by Sheryl Kimbley, chairperson of the Police Board of Commissioners, who told Prince that she would love the city.
“The City of Prince Albert has all walks of life and we know how to support each other,” she said. “I want to say to your parents, your daughter will not be alone. Your daughter will be supported and welcomed into the City of Prince Albert.”
Prince’s parents attended the ceremony.
Kimbley also said that as an aboriginal person herself, she was taught to be afraid of the police and to run and hide when they were around but now, as part of the police commission, she is working on rebuilding the trust between her people and the police.
Prince was sworn in by Provincial Court judge Earl Kalenith, who administered the oath of office.
Prince introduced herself as Holy Spotted Elk Woman, but Farica for short, and said that some of the initiatives she sees in the community are what made her want to work for PAPS.
“I’m invigorated and encouraged by the community’s clear commitment to true truth and reconciliation,” said Prince. “Prince Albert is definitely leading the example for others to follow on how to facilitate understanding of Indigenous issues, specifically the traumas and historical issues that are causing repercussions today.”
Prince grew up in a family that did its best to eliminate the effects of residential schools and she had a good relationship with the aboriginal police force in her home community.
“As a youth, I only had positive interactions with the local police, which was the Ojibway Police Service,” she explained. That was what led to her joining that service at age 19.
She has also spent time with the Blood Tribe police service in southern Alberta and the RCMP.
She also pointed out that what happened in residential schools and in the 60s scoop are not ancient history as her parents and close family members were directly affected by the policies and are still living and young.
“Awareness, understanding, healing, wellness, identity, connection and collaboration are all part of our path forward and together we each have a role to play,” she said.
Prince also referred to the millennial scoop, murdered and missing Indigenous woman and the two-spirited crisis are very much an active concern amongst a younger population.
She then acknowledged her role as someone from a different Treaty area, having grown up in Sioux Valley of the Dakota Nation in southwestern Manitoba.
“I’m proud to making my home here in Treaty Six as a visitor and proud to be part of the family at Prince Albert Police Service. I’m especially humbled to be one of the few police leaders to transition from Indigenous police leadership into municipal police leadership,” she stated.