Indigenous leaders praise Saskatoon’s new police chief, note his Metis heritage
SASKATOON — Troy Cooper has been sworn in as the new chief of the Saskatoon Police Service.
The veteran officer from Big River, Sask., stood at city hall Wednesday before family, friends, police and community leaders in a ceremony rich with Indigenous tradition.
During the swearing in Cooper was wrapped in a ceremonial blanket by Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand.
Cooper, who is Metis, says one of his main goals will be to work closely with the Indigenous community.
Another top priority will be crime prevention and cracking down on the drug trade.
He says the increasing trend in property crime in Saskatoon and the surrounding area is fuelled by addiction to cocaine, crystal meth and fentanyl.
“These drugs provide an economic base for street gangs, they create paranoia that results in weapon possession,” he said.
Indigenous elders said they were proud to welcome Cooper to the new job, noting he is the first openly Metis police chief in Saskatoon’s history.
“It was such an honour to see it was one of our people who is now a chief of police,” said Metis senator and elder Nora Cummings, who presented Cooper with a replica of Louis Riel’s sash at the ceremony.
“He is a role model to our young people and a role model to our community.”
Arcand said he has full confidence in Cooper as a leader.
“He’s going to be here for the people and that’s meaningful,” Arcand said. “I call you a brother now because you’re part of our First Nations family.”
Cooper is the former chief of the Prince Albert Police Service. (CKOM)
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2018
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