MFNPS Commissioners Sworn In
This past winter, Opaskwayak was the host community for the swearing in ceremony for the MFNPS Commissioners and the Chief of Police.
Opaskwayak’s Commissioner is Jennifer Lavallee-Bignell, who has been serving with the Commission since 2021. In July 2022, she was voted in as the Vice-Chairperson. She is one of eight members on the police commission.
“As the Commission, our mandate is to provide oversight on the service at the board level working together with Police Chief Doug Palson,” said Jennifer Lavallee-Bignell. “Safety is a major concern in the community, and we are working towards continued partnerships at various levels of government in order to move forward with improved policing services for our communities and the people that reside in them.”
The police commission was created to ensure the MFNPS are following procedures based on the needs of the communities. Commissioners ensure the police force is respectful of the culture, priorities and needs of all eight of the participating communities.
“It is important for our community to ensure public safety and policing be culturally appropriate. Additionally, respect and understanding our people of Opaskwayak strengthens the rapport that is required in building strong relationships,” said Maureen Brown, councillor and Government Services Branch portfolio holder. “This approach is required in keeping everyone safe. It is important to understand the long-lasting negative impacts of colonization (Residential Schools, 60’s scoop, CFS). When the understanding is there, it indicates that public safety in our community will continue to grow.”
“It is important for our community to ensure public safety and policing be culturally appropriate. Respect and understanding our people of Opaskwayak strengthens the rapport that is required in building strong relationships.”
-Maureen Brown, Councillor & Government Services Branch portfolio holder
The participating communities are: Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Birdtail Sioux First Nation, Canupawakpa Dakota Nation, Long Plain First Nation, Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation, Swan Lake First Nation and Waywayseecappo First Nation.
The expectation of the police commission is to ensure high quality policing services that are free from political influence. According to the MFNPS website, “this ensures the participating communities’ priorities, issues and concerns related to public safety and policing are identified and progress is monitored.”
The Commission meets quarterly, in different locations within the participating communities. When members start at the commission, they are provided with training including board rules, regulations and liabilities. Commissioners are also given handbooks on policies and regulations when they are appointed to serve.
Opaskwayak’s official launch date with MFNPS was on April 1st, 2021.
Current members of the Opaskwayak Detachment are Sgt. Darryl Hunter, Cpl. Allen Boles, Cst. Brianne Dubois, Cst. Cale Laurence, Cst. Cole LeBlanc, Cst. Jason Bushe, Cst. Jordan Starr, Cst. Lauren Melnyk, and Cst. Thomas Nicolls. Detachment Clerks are Tiffany Kostyk and Monica Head-Stevenson.
Opaskwayak wishes to acknowledge the passing of Waywayseecappos commissioner Mr. Bryan Cloud who passed in December 2022.
Opaskwayak’s detachment phone number is 204-623-8201.