The Saskatoon Police Service is looking to get more Aboriginal people involved in the force.
SPS held a special recruitment session with the goal of increasing the number of Indigenous officers in the police force on Thursday night.
Police Chief Clive Weighill says there is currently about 11 per cent of the police force that self identifies as Aboriginal and there is always room for improvement.
“You know our population in Saskatoon’s around 20 per cent First Nations or Metis and that’s pretty well what the police service should be at a bare minimum,” he says. “I would like to see an even higher number. I think it’s important that people see that we understand the culture, we understand the history and we have members that understand that.”
Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas says with a high number of Indigenous people living within the inner-city, it is important to have Aboriginal officers out on the beat.
“It’s important that they’re there when they go to White Buffalo (Youth Lodge) and the programming with our kids that those kids can now say that there’s now a different perception of the police when they come knocking on their doors,” he says. “Not always bad but it could be good news or they just want to say hi.”
Both Weighill and Thomas say police relations with the Aboriginal community have been strained from time to time but have been improving over the last few years.
The recruitment session featured a question and answer period and information on the selection and training process to become a police officer.
About 60 people attended the session at SPS headquarters on 25th Street East.