BLOOD TRIBE POLICE SERVICE
MEDIA RELEASE 6 March 2015
Re: Chief of Police Comments on Blood Tribe State of Emergency
The Blood Tribe Chief and Council declared a local state of emergency on March 4, 2015 in response to the growing community concern of prescription drug abuse and recent deaths believed to be related to the street drug Oxy 80.
The Blood Tribe Police Service (BTPS) acknowledges the community concern and the efforts of Chief and Council to take positive action to address those concerns at this time. The police service has been aware of an increase in illicit drug use and the proliferation of gang related activity in the community. We also realize these problems are not unique to this community and we can learn from the experiences of others who have faced similar problems. We also realize that charging the drug abusers and traffickers is only a small part of the solution to address these problems. The police have an important role to play in providing a stable and safe community but many other resources are required to address these deep rooted problems.
The police service has committed two of its 31 police positions to full-time assignments to address issues of drug trafficking and gang activity. We are currently recruiting a third subject matter expert officer to supervise and direct the activities of this specialized unit we have named the Crime Reduction Unit or CRU. Our patrol officers have been assigned directed activities during their shifts to monitor and disrupt areas known for high gang and drug activities in the community. A dedicated tip line at [email protected] has been established to allow citizens to provide current information and tips to police anonymously. These efforts have resulted in numerous charges and significant disruption of drug activity in the past two months. The tactics and methods they use will not be discussed to protect the integrity of their investigations.
BTPS contributes intelligence and shares information with the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) and other police services in Alberta. The numerous recent charges in Alberta relating to the seizure of large amounts of Oxy 80 shows that this issue is not unique to the Blood Indian Reserve. It is however a significant and systemic issue that needs immediate further attention.
The BTPS has limited resources and has not had an increase in the number of police officers funded for many years. We currently are waiting for Canada’s approval of a renewed police funding agreement amongst the Blood Tribe, Alberta and Canada. Our current funding expires on March 31 and further commitments cannot be contemplated until new funding is in place. Canada has not negotiated any new terms with the Blood Tribe in relation to its First Nations Policing Program. That program was reviewed by the Auditor General of Canada and his recommendations will hopefully make positive changes in the future.
The BTPS encourages anyone using addictive and illicit substances to stop immediately and seek assistance in dealing with their issues of substance abuse. Friends and relatives of people using these and other illicit substances are also encouraged to assist them to address their abuse and seek appropriate intervention services. They are also encouraged to participate in the program to make the medication Naloxone an opiate overdose medication readily available when needed. The Blood Tribe has several other services available through their extensive support network as well.
Over the past several weeks we have received many messages of support and thanks from community members in relation to our efforts to address this crisis in the community. We are very appreciative of that thanks and support.
H.L. (Lee) Boyd. Chief of Police