Working Together To Improve Policing

Sarnia Police Services Board Chair Mayor Mike Bradley and Aamjiwnaang Chief Joanne Rogers sign a new police agreement. July 10, 2018 (Photo by Melanie Irwin)

Aamjiwnaang First Nation and the Sarnia Police Service have updated their police agreement for the first time since 1989.

Band Council and the Police Services Board met for a special signing ceremony Tuesday.

Chief Joanne Rogers says refreshing the document was long overdue.

“I thought it would be a good idea to bring the city together with our community and review it, and we did sit down with former Chief Phil Nelson and former Deputy Chief Bob Farlow,” says Rogers. “We went through the agreement and I took it back to my council, reviewed it, and both agreed to sign it.”

She says they modernized language and quickly addressed a lack of representation from Aamjiwnaang on the police services board.

“Council has always expressed the desire to have somebody sit on the board,” says Rogers. “So, I guess it’s all about timing. We were told that there was a vacancy on the board, so we thought we would grab the opportunity and make application. I filled out the application and it was successful.”

Rogers, who spent 21 years as a Justice of the Peace, will serve on the board until 2020.

She says a plan to increase patrols in some areas, where jurisdiction has been questioned in the past, was also endorsed.

“For instance, we have a lot of dumping on our service roads. So, to address that, we wrote a letter to police services and indicated that they would have jurisdiction to monitor those service roads for people who dump,” says Rogers.

Police Services Board Chair Mayor Mike Bradley says open lines of communication really help resolve issues before they get bigger.

“As far as I know, the police board as a group has never met with band council before and the fact that we’ll now do that annually, no matter who is in office and who is chief of police, is really important,” says Bradley.

Bradley says the best way to have reconciliation is to actually do things, instead of talking about it.