Empowering Indigenous Communities and People through Security Training
- Joel Pedersen | August 25, 2020
Clarrisa Donard of Black Lake was one of 33 northern residents who successfully completed a recent indigenous-operated, three-week, live-in security guard training program in Stony Rapids.
The day after her August 13 completion, Donard was offered work with the health centre in her community.
The course participants, from Black Lake, Stony Rapids, and Fond du Lac, who ranged in age from 18 to over-50, put in 80 hours of learning, including completion of the Saskatchewan Justice Private Investigator and Security Guard course. They spent hours in the classroom becoming familiar with relevant laws and procedures in day-to-day security operations and learning about ethical intervention and decision-making.
The second half of the course was the physical component, where students learned the skills of self-defense and defensive tactics. These included tactical communication and use of force to resolve situations, tactical handcuffing, and use of baton and pepper spray, also known as OC spray. These are all tools that provide a professional security guard the ability to keep the community safe and do her or his job safely.
Two-thirds of the participants are now qualified for a security guard license from the provincial government but all have developed valuable new skills to help keep their communities safe at a level where police are not involved and that could prevent the need for police involvement.
The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) for example, saw the need for qualified and certified members when the pandemic hit, and many First Nations strove to keep their communities healthy by establishing checkpoints to prevent people from casually coming and going.
This training helps those staffing the checkpoints to enforce rules in a professional and safe manner.
The northern training was provided through a partnership of PAGC and Ya’thi Nene, a non-profit organization comprised of three Athabasca basin Dene First Nations and four northern villages that works to protect the best interests of the northern people and the land.
The Chiefs of Black Lake, Fond du Lac, and Hatchet Lake agree on the importance of providing professional programming for their communities. This is the first step in empowering communities to provide community safety and is an opportunity for future employment along with personal and professional development.
The 2J2 Community Safety Security Guard Program is offered by 2J2 Fitness, which is owned by me, Joel Pederson, a member of Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation and 25-year veteran of the Saskatoon Police Service and Chief Warrant Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces.
My Indigenous colleagues, who worked alongside me delivering the training, were Leon Durette, who worked with Corrections Services Canada for 32 years including as National trainer/advisor in correctional officer training, and Justin Durette, a peace officer with the University of Saskatchewan Protective Services.
One of the challenges of training in a COVID19 environment was to ensure everyone followed the health protocols that were set out. Added to this was the training bubble concept where instructors and trainees stayed together throughout the training at Al’s Place hotel in Stony Rapids. For the safety of participants and the host community, all participants completed a self- isolation period, provided a COVID precaution check sheet, and arrived in good health with no COVID or flu-like symptoms. Facemasks, hand washing, and physical distancing procedures were followed by all involved and daily temperature checks were completed at the beginning and end of each training day, keeping the bubble concept valid and safe.
2J2 delivered a similar Community Safety Security Guard Program at White Buffalo Youth Lodge in June for employees working at the youth shelter.
We are proud of all participants who attended and completed the program and we hope to see all move forward in the field of security and community safety as we all try to make our communities safer and healthier places to live. Marci cho, Megwich.
Fitness 2J2 is a socially responsible community-based health and wellness company. Based out of Saskatoon and providing programming since 2011, we are proud to be First Nation owned and operated. We offer functional fitness, soccer, basketball, rugby, volleyball, youth sport camps, learn to run, learn to triathlon, self-defense for women and youth, and fitness leader development and mentorship. We believe in professional community safety and security programming to empower Indigenous communities and people.