First Nation Safety Officers (FNSOs) have been recruited and trained at Dakota Tipi First Nation to enforce bylaws. Braden Pashe had worked with RCMP in the 80s and 90s, and was able to train three safety officers in Dakota Tipi.
Braden Pashe explains the provincial government won't enforce the First Nation's bylaws. He notes offenders must be taken to court, lawyers must be hired in order to enforce them. He notes it makes it hard to prosecute anyone. However, he notes, they have the right as a Sovereign Nation to evict people.
Councillor Karl Stone notes this is one of the reasons they engaged the Safety Officer program.
"It allows us to enforce bylaws on the reserve," notes Stone. "We couldn't do that prior to the Safety Officer program coming into play. That's one of the good things about the program. We can now fight an combat drugs on the reserve."
Trent Pashe is one of the three FNSOs, and explains their role in the community's combat against drugs.
"In the Criminal Code, there are three levels of the criminal law," says Pashe. "There's the Indictable Crimes, Hybrid Crimes, and then there's Summary Conviction. In the bylaw against Summary Convictions, we can only just find these people. You can't arrest them on any basis. Now that we are First Nation Safety Officers, we can enforce these bylaws."
He notes before they had safety officers, they could only fine offenders, then criminally charge them after a certain number of fines had been issued.
Section 494 allows the officers to charge the people to evict someone from a house. Pashe notes it's only if they see someone committing an Indictable Crime. Along with enforcing bylaws, that's all that the community can do.
When a crime is reported, Pashe will get in charge with his supervisor.
"Even after everything happens, because we don't have a detachment, and are not properly outfitted out here, we do have to contact RCMP after everything," says Pashe. "We are reliant on RCMP right now until we're properly funded."
The board of the new Drug Task Force says funding is a huge problem, and with the new provincial government in place, it may take time for them to successfully appeal for assistance.
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