The OPP are updating their policies for dealing with critical incidents on First Nations. The police service says their new framework places an emphasis on building relationships and dialogue.
"The mutual trust, understanding and respect between two organizations or groups can be very useful, at a time when tensions are high," says Acting S/Sgt. Chrystal Jones of the OPP.
The update of the police service's framework follows the recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry a decade ago. In 1995, Dudley George was fatally wounded by an OPP officer, as First Nation members protested against the loss of land at Camp Ipperwash in southern Ontario.
The inquiry's recommendations reached all the way to the premier's office, noting a lack of understanding of treaties and First Nation land claims. The land was finally returned to the First Nation through an agreement reached last year with the federal government.
In relation to the new framework announced yesterday, OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes says they're hoping to further improve relations with Indigenous communities, while supporting public safety.
"To contribute to the spirit of reconciliation, we welcome the people of Ontario and members of its Indigenous communities to read the annual report and the framework itself. We hope it furthers open discussion on our rationale, while demonstrating another way the OPP supports community safety." the commissioner said.
Jones adds members of their provincial liaison team are also working to mitigate issues through dialogue and mediation, in an effort to minimize areas of conflict.
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