PAGC, police sign agreement on search and rescue operations

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Mar 13, 2019

The Prince Albert Grand Council has signed a new agreement with local police and the RCMP to work together on search and rescue operations involving missing people.

PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte signed the memorandum of understanding Wednesday afternoon, along with Prince Albert Police Chief Jon Bergen and Assistant Commissioner Mark Fisher from the Saskatchewan RCMP. The agreement is the first of its kind in Saskatchewan and sets out formal roles and responsibilities when it comes to use of the PAGC’s search and rescue team.

The team officially became part of the Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers in December. Hardlotte said the MOU is an important partnership that insures police will work with local First Nations’ leadership on missing persons files.

“You don’t want to wait. The earlier that you respond, if a person is lost, your chances are better in finding that person,” Hardlotte said. “I hope this sets a precedence with the other tribal councils and the First Nations throughout this country.”

Local police have already partnered with the PAGC on search and rescue operations, including last summer in the search for young Sweetgrass Kennedy. Having worked with the PAGC already, Bergen said there’s value in continuing the partnership and working with those who have specialized skills and equipment, especially when it comes to water searches.

“Moving forward we knew that that was a partnership we wanted to build on and we needed to build on,” Bergen added. “There was a special skills set that we as police didn’t have, and we have access to it now and vice versa. We believe it’s a true partnership where we each bring something different toward a common goal.

Fisher said the MOU formalizes some of the work that’s already been happening in some Saskatchewan communities. Early communication and cooperation with local residents and community leaders are integral in any missing persons case, he said.

Knowledge of the local landscape is also an important factor, he added.

“A lot of these incidents will come down to what happened leading up to an event,” Fisher said. “As RCMP, we come in and out of a community, we have large territories to cover, and having that localized expertise is a great asset for us to work closely with.”

Fisher said there will also be important training opportunities with the new partnership.

“On local knowledge too and knowledge of the area. Often, you’ll learn about that in a training exercise that will come into play and be a big benefit in an actual operation of some sort later down the road,” Fisher said. “So, we encourage our members to spend some time learning about that prior to an incident happening and I think that serves the community as a whole.”


PAGC Giraffe Award

Rick Sanderson is the first winner of the PAGC Giraffe Award.

KUDOS for a Colleague

Beginning this year, Executive wants to acknowledge our staff who have exemplified the values that our PAGC Chiefs have made:

Community Involvement
we encourage corporate and individual involvement in community activities.

Individual Contribution
we enable individuals to be responsible and accountable for providing excellent program and service delivery to member First Nations.

Trust and Teamwork
we have relationships that are based on trust, cooperation and teamwork.

Open Communication
we have open communication, open dialogue, and participative management.

Employee Development
we have a commitment to continuous employee development and growth.

we develop partnerships that will enhance the economic, social and cultural well being of member First Nations.

we respect one another and the importance of family

All of these characteristics have been demonstrated by the recent negotiations of the Angus Mirasty School and Parkland Hall. Our colleague first brought the idea to the Executive and since then, he has worked effortlessly on developing and negotiating with various stakeholders, while emulating each of the values of the organization.

Today, we are closer to closing the deal between city hall and PAGC. Rick Sanderson was key in getting this building for our communities.

Closing: I want to give Rick Sanderson the very first Giraffe Award that signifies an individual from our PAGC Directors/Coordinators team that “sticks their neck out” for the organization to improve the well-being of our communities.  

I believe there needs to be opportunities for every leader to encourage one another, especially at a time when there are so many stressors at work, at home and in society. I will ask Rick to pass on this Giraffe Award at our next meeting to one of you who stick their neck out and exemplify the values of the organization.

Lastly, I want to close with this quote, “When people feel a strong sense of affiliation and attachment to their colleagues they’re much more likely to have a higher sense of well-being, to feel more committed to the organization, and to perform at higher levels,” 

To be a PAGC Program Manager/Director is to have the responsibility to “rise above” the circumstances for the betterment for our communities. With that, I’d like for Rick to come up and receive the first Giraffe Award for 2019.