PAPS signs partnership to mentor Métis youth interested in policing

Sherry McLennon, the director of Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Western Region II, presents a cheque to Prince Albert Police Service Chief Jon Bergen to support a mentorship program for Métis individuals interested in becoming a police officer. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

The Prince Albert Police Service is hoping a new partnership with the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan will help to identify and mentor qualified Métis applicants for a career in policing.

The partnership was signed Wednesday with Western Region 2 and the region’s director, Sherry McLennan.

The program will be modelled after similar recruiting initiatives aimed at encouraging more Indigenous members of the community and surrounding areas to consider front-line policing as a career option.

Western Region 2 will provide $100,000 this year to fund two participants in the mentorship program. The region will also help to identify qualified applicants.

“Prince Albert is (in) the homeland of the Métis. We are a diverse police service dedicated to community safety and committed to reducing crime. We value equality, diversity and inclusion,” Police Chief Jon Bergen said.

“We can work together to ensure that more Métis members of our community can fulfill their dreams of becoming a police officer.”

Applicants selected for the mentorship program will spend six months with the Prince Albert Police Service learning about all aspects of the police service’s operations. They will then be able to go on to further training at the Saskatchewan police college and return as regular constables with the service.

“As a police service, we recognize that we can do more to reflect the community we serve,” Bergen said.

“We also recognize that some applicants may face challenges in working toward a career in law enforcement. That’s why we are partnering with Métis Nation Saskatchewan to better help those who want to be police offices and help them prepare for their career.”

The participants will ride along and shadow members of the police service to receive coaching and instruction. They will go through the orientation, affidavits and legal forms to ride along and be taught about things such as chain of command, radio protocols, fingerprinting, photography, use of force, computer training and report writing. They’ll also be briefed on the police act, association and learn more about the law, processes and details of policing. Familiarization with firearms and enforcement training will also be part of the mentorship.

“Our ultimate goal is to have people who have an interest as Métis people in serving the City of Prince Albert to be successful with the police service,” Bergen said.

“That’s our goal once the six months have been completed in the mentorship.”

McLennan thanked Sgt. Kelsey Bighetty, who will be involved with the program, as well as Chief Bergen and Inspector Brent McDonald.

Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Western Region II director Sherry McLennan signs an agreement with the Prince Albert Police Service on March 10, 2021 (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

“The Métis Nation works hard to support the Prince Albert police department in their efforts and we want to encourage our children and our youth to become professionals and police officers,” she said.

“(We appreciate) efforts by the Prince Albert Police Service to engage with the community on proactive policing initiatives. The mentorship program will be an opportunity to build on our relationship with the police service and work together to both encourage more Métis youth to consider a career in law enforcement and inspire others in their community.”

Bergen said the police service is proud of its diversity and that while it is already representing the community it serves, it knows it can do better. About one-third of the police service’s sworn members self-identify as Indigenous.

“We have to continue to build on our successes we’ve had so far,” Bergen said.

“It’s about understanding and knowing your community. When you have (representation) it brings trust to the community. It’s extremely valuable to us.”

Applications are being accepted for the mentorship program. Interested applicants can find application packages on the police service website More information about recruiting can be found by contacting Sgt. Kelsey Bighetty with the police service at

Interested applicants can also contact the local office of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Western Region 2 by phone at 306-922-2206 or by visiting their office at the corner of 13 Street and First Avenue East.

Applicants will be screened by the Métis Nation and a shortlist will be submitted to the police recruiting committee to help make a final decision.

Bergen said they would be looking for a Métis person “that needs a little coaching and mentorship to make sure they’re successful in their goals of policing with the Prince Albert Police Service.”