Indigenous liaison encourages dialogue

Indigenous officer eager to engage with Ktunaxa communities

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Const. Monte Webb has recently been appointed as the Indigenous liaison officer for some communities of the Ktunaxa Nation.

He currently serves communities such as the Akisqnuk First Nation in Windermere, the Aq’am Community near Cranbrook, Tobacco Plains near Grasmere and Yaqan Nukiy in Creston through Community Tripartite Agreements.

Community Tripartite Agreements are negotiated between the RCMP, the governing body of the First Nations communities represented by the Band Council as well as the provincial and federal government bodies to support culturally responsive Indigenous policing services.

“Generally speaking, I try to do at least one day a week at each community,” explained Const. Webb, adding his role is focused on building relationships within each community through community engagement.

Last week, he visited the Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Society’s daycare at Little Badgers Early Learning Program with his peers Const. Katie Forgeron from the Cranbrook detachment, who serves as a school liaison, and Invermere RCMP detachment Sgt. Darren Kakuno to teach children about bike safety. After roughly a year in his role as the Indigenous liaison officer for the Ktunaxa, he was pleased with the turnout and the support of the first bike safety event held on the lands of the Akisqnuk First Nation.

“I’m really lucky to be working with some good guys,” said Const. Webb. “It’s a two way street. We’re trying to build relationships in the community, but we want all police officers to get involved in healthy, safety communities with First Nations. Not just one. Not just Indigenous policing services — we want the entire detachments to be involved and the detachments are fully supportive.”

However, the COVID-19 global pandemic has slightly disrupted his efforts to build relationships in the community by hosting events while safely adhering to social and physical distancing recommendations from the province. Const. Webb indicated that he plans to play it safe when it comes to visiting elders because he doesn’t want to risk the health of elders from the community he serves.

“COVID has kind of messed that up a little bit. There’s not as many community events going on now. You don’t want to stop in and see elders if it puts them at risk. I don’t want to be that guy,” he explained. “It’s harder now to do community engagement activities but we’re still doing what we can.”

Const. Webb routinely visits the on-school reserves in the Yaqan Nukiy community as well as in the Aq’am community to build up rapport with people of all ages.

“I haven’t been to the school in Invermere yet because they already have school liaisons there,” he said. “For the most part, I stick to the schools that are on-reserve and I’m there a lot because I am dedicated to the First Nations communities.”

For those who wish to contact Const. Webb by phone to learn more about his role or to voice community concerns, please contact him at the office during the week at: 250-417-4248.

“If it’s an emergency, please contact your local detachments because I’m a Monday to Friday guy and I’m out of the office a lot,” he concluded, noting that the Indigenous liaison role he’s in is focused on building relationships and learning about the community. “It might take some time for me to get back to callers because I’m out of the office so much, but I will.”

First NationsPolice

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