Blue Line

Fifteen First Nation policing careers begin

December 22, 2023  By Mike Stimpson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dec. 22, 2023, Thunder Bay, Ont. – Becoming a constable in the Lac Seul Police Service (LSPS) is the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition for Jessalyn Scarrett.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” the recruit from Manitoba said before Thursday’s badge ceremony for new Lac Seul and Nishnawbe Aski police recruits. “I come from a family of police officers.”

Indeed, her RCMP member father was among those at the ceremony in which Scarrett, three other new Lac Seul constables and 11 new members of the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS) received their badges and warrant cards.

Having family at the event was “super important,” she said afterward. “I’m really close with them, and my parents have been super supportive.”


Among the 11 newly minted NAPS officers on Thursday was Cst. Adam Harder.

Harder, also a Manitoban, said after the ceremony that he felt “humbled.”

“It’s a big thing,” he remarked. “My family and I have worked hard to get to where we are. It’s very humbling to accept a badge from the chief, and I just want to do justice for all the guys that have gone before me.”

This was the first time NAPS has held a badge ceremony with another police service, said NAPS Chief of Police Roland Morrison.

That’s important, he said, because “positive partnerships” with other organizations help NAPS to “address our issues and advance in our communities.”

Morrison said every NAPS officer is encouraged to “get involved in the community” because friendly intervention with residents “will make your job easier when you’re in the communities.”

The communities served by NAPS “want to see the officers actively involved in their communities, participating in events, going to those community functions, meeting the people, meeting the youth, meeting the children, going to the schools. You know, that’s what community policing is all about.”

Nishnawbe Aski Police Service serves 34 First Nation communities over an expanse of Northern Ontario that takes up most of the province’s land area. It has about 200 officers.

Lac Seul, a community of roughly 800 northwest of Sioux Lookout, has its own police service though the First Nation is a member of Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

The LSPS now has 17 officers and will have three more in April, Chief of Police Bruno Rossi said.

That’s a big increase from eight officers less than two years ago, he said, but the service will always be on the lookout for new recruits.

“This is your day,” Rossi told the new officers before they received their badges. “Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. Wear your badge proudly.”

After the ceremony he said the community of Lac Seul “doesn’t just get new officers, they got new relationships that will be built. The kids will look up to them. It’s a great day.”

Morrison said it’s vitally important for each officer to take care of their own mental health.

“Recharge, refocus, because our communities need you,” he told the new badge bearers.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum advised the new constables to avail themselves of “emotional and spiritual supports” on hand.

– Thunder Bay Source

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