Emotions ran high as Lethbridge Police Chief Rob Davis welcomed 34 new cadets to the service on Monday.
“When I went to recruit training with the Siksika Nation Police Service, it was a handful of First Nations officers sitting among several hundred, and it was quite an intimidating day and it was interesting to watch this group, they were calm and cool,” he said.
“We have at least six countries the cadets called home at some point in their life, five languages that we know of, a number of cultural and religious backgrounds represented,” Davis said of the new cadets.
Among this diverse group of trainees — the highest in recent history — three will be serving on the Blood Tribe Reserve.
“We’re really proud of them and they’re going to be beneficial to our organization and also the community, because they are from the community. So that trust has been built already,” Blood Tribe Police Chief Kyle Tallow said.
That trust can be hard to build in any community. Charity Black-Rider grew up on the Blood Tribe Reserve and, as the only Indigenous female cadet going back to the reserve from this group, she looks forward to making a positive impact.
“First Nation women deserve more,” she said. “I think their murders, their disappearances need to be investigated and I want to be one of those officers to investigate” Black-Rider said.
The cadets have officially begun their 22 weeks of training. After that they go to their respective agencies for about six weeks of on-the-job training, then they are on their own.