NAN calls on province and feds to address policing crisis

    THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy supports yesterday's decision to partially close the Kasabonika
Lake First Nation Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service detachment, calling on
provincial Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Rick
Bartolucci and federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day to address the
growing policing crisis in NAN territory.
    "When officer and prisoner safety is compromised there can be deadly
outcomes," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy referencing the January 2006
detachment fire in Kashechewan First Nation where two prisoners died and an
officer was badly burned. "NAPS' proactive approach to avoiding accidents and
potential tragedies will ensure officer and prisoner safety on the short-term,
but it's time our treaty partners come to the table to together develop
long-term solutions to meet the basic health and safety needs of our police
service. This is not an isolated incident - without change we can expect
further detachment closures."
    The cells of the NAPS detachment in Kasabonika Lake First Nation were
closed Thursday after Acting NAPS Police Chief John Domm received a constable
report of the deteriorating state of the detachment earlier this week.
    "An incident forcing my review indicated cells were completely inadequate
failing to meet basic needs such as proper lighting, washroom facilities,
monitoring capabilities, and secure construction of the cell itself," said
Acting NAPS Police Chief John Domm. "The decision to partially close the
detachment is based on the need to meet minimum health and safety requirements
- in its current state, the cells do not meet these requirements."
    Domm's decision to partially close the detachment in the NAN community
was made in coordination with Kasabonika Lake First Nation Chief Gordon
Anderson and band council yesterday.
    "The safety and security of our community is at risk when we don't have
proper cell facilities," said Kasabonika First Nation Chief Gordon Anderson.
"What has to happen before our treaty partners (Canada and Ontario) provide
the necessary funds to have a proper facility in our community?"
    Currently prisoners are being flown to Sioux Lookout, ON at a cost to
NAPS of between $8,000 and $10,000 per trip - a cost less than a monthly lease
payment on a new detachment.
    NAPS has been in negotiations to address infrastructure challenges with
provincial and federal representatives since its 1994 inception and has
proposed a five year budgetary plan to negotiators for the governments of
Canada and Ontario that will satisfy detachment needs on a priority basis.
    Only one of 35 NAPS detachments meets minimum national building code
standards. 13 modular detachments (trailers) have been installed as a
temporary solution. Each trailer costs approximately $400,000 including set up
and installation. A new police detachment meeting minimum national building
code standards would cost approximately $1 million.
    "The realities of NAPS detachments are becoming more and more real as
we've seen visualized in a video documentary and now with the closure of
Kasabonika's detachment," said Beardy. "On behalf of the people of Nishnawbe
Aski, I want and expect these realities be taken into consideration as we
anticipate a five year budget plan by Treasury Board of Canada."
    Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service: A Sacred Calling is an 18 minute video
documentary portraying the deplorable working and living conditions of NAPS
officers and detachments, resulting from an accumulation of severe provincial
and federal funding shortages. It can be screened at

    NAPS serves 37 of Nishnawbe Aski Nation's (NAN) 49 First Nation
communities - a territory covering two-thirds of the province of Ontario.

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political organization representing 49 First
Nation communities within James Bay Treaty 9 territory.

For further information:

For further information: please contact:  Jenna Young, Director of
Communications, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952, (807) 628-3953 mobile

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