PAGC chiefs praise police for acting on Indigenous representation

Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte with his predecessor Ron Michel in the background. (Herald file photo)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte, Vice-Chief Joseph Tsannie and Vice-Chief Christopher Jobb welcome appointments of Jason Stonechild and Sheryl Kimbley to police team

The Prince Albert Grand Council’s (PAGC) chiefs are expressing appreciation to the police service for their appointments of Indigenous members.

The police service has had many shifts in positions in the past month, including Jason Stonechild as deputy chief and Sheryl Kimbley as chairperson of the board of police commissioners—both have a Cree background.

Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said the appointments will help to reduce crime.

“Having Indigenous representation at its highest levels means clearer and balanced approaches to addressing complex socio-economic, cultural and racial issues facing our Indigenous people who are grossly over-represented in our overall justice system,” he said.

Specifically, Hardlotte said these challenges include drug and alcohol addictions.

About two weeks ago, the PAGC met with Mayor Greg Dionne and police Chief Jon Bergen to build trust and communication.

“All partners, they make the city a safer place,” said Hardlotte.

“We know that policing in a city like Prince Albert, it’s a difficult task and police work is hard, but we get involved to try to help the mayor and the city councillors and the police service on working towards solutions.”

Kimbley is also the special events coordinator for the PAGC.

“She’s been our employee for a long time, but Sheryl has been really involved also with the city. She’s been involved with the youth throughout northern Saskatchewan, involved with Voices of the North,” he said.

Executive director of the Indian Métis Friendship Centre, Janet Carriere, is also on the new board.

Their positions are effective on Jan. 1.

“Each of these changes are encouraging signs that our police service is heading in a positive direction, and I am confident we are on the right track to ensuring a climate of safety, security and mutual respect for every citizen of Prince Albert who calls this city home,” said Hardlotte.

He wishes Mayor Dionne, his council members and all citizens a happy and safe holiday season.