Saskatchewan’s First Aboriginal Police Force Faces Questions of Conduct

Story by Morgan O’Neal

Saskatchewan’s first self-administered aboriginal police force was formally established in May, and polices the Carry the Kettle, Little Black Bear, Okanese, Peepeekisis and Star Blanket First Nations east of Regina. It has received the first blow to its public image after receiving a complaint from a family after a teenager’s arm was broken while in custody. Colleen Stevenson, who lives on the Carry the Kettle First Nation, wants to know how her 15-year-old son, Timothy, suffered a broken arm while in custody of the File Hills First Nations Police. “I don’t see how a man in a uniform … obligated to protect the community is out there inflicting pain, breaking bones,” she said.

Timothy Stevenson was with another person when he was arrested last week. He was kept in custody for 12 hours and said he was denied medical attention. He was never charged with any offence. Police Chief Ralph Martin, who oversees seven officers, confirmed that the injury occurred while the teen was in police custody. He has met with the family to discuss the case, but the police force has made little information about the incident public.
In response to this lack of information, Timothy Stevenson’s grandfather, Delmar Runns, alleges the poor treatment of a resident is not an isolated incident. “I think, for myself, we should go back to the RCMP, because the tribal police are overreacting,” Runns said. “They’re overdoing it.”

The province’s public complaints commission says it’s aware of the allegation about the teenager, but hasn’t received a formal complaint. It could investigate itself or turn the matter over to an outside police force..