The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Akwesasne Justice Department is celebrating the launch of a new pilot program for compliance officer training that has never been held before on a First Nation or for a First Nation.  The course is being offered through funding secured from Indigenous & Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and began on January 8, 2018.


“This is a first in Indian Country,” said Joyce King, Director of the Akwesasne Justice Department. “We have found that there really isn't any training of this kind specific to First Nations.  Any similar courses available are geared toward city compliance and not specific to aboriginal rights or First Nations by-law enforcement.”


The 13-week course was open to anyone seeking further understanding and knowledge in compliance, with callouts made to various First Nations communities, as they would potentially benefit the most. The ten students registered include seven from Akwesasne and three from other First Nations.


“We have an exciting program that touches on basic police skills, but also targets issues within First Nations (such as INAC by-laws) and restorative justice practices,” King said. “The candidates will also go through physical training that will prepare them to enter Police College if they wish to advance their careers into policing.”


During the launch of the program, Grand Chief Abram Benedict told participants, “Compliance has a lot of elements to it…it’s not just going out there and picking up the dogs and issuing citations or fines…, there’s a lot of other educational components. I’m really pleased that staff were able to pull this together as part of the foundation of our justice system, and I’m glad that you all expressed an interest in this program. It’s a very vital role.”


Chief Connie Lazore, who holds the Justice portfolio for Council and played a key role in bringing the program to fruition told participants, “Comments we received [in the past] from community were to enforce our laws and by-laws. I hope that you will find this useful and I hope it will help you in furthering your career…whether you want to maintain a compliance position or go into law enforcement.”


The course was coordinated by William LaFrance, a retired police officer with years of experience in Akwesasne policing and compliance.



The new students on Day 1 of the training were greeted by (back row left to right) Coordinator William LaFrance, Director of Justice Joyce King, Chief Connie Lazore and Grand Chief Abram Benedict. 




 Grand Chief Abram Benedict welcomed the students and greeted MCA's current compliance officer Taylor Mitchell.





Words of welcome by Chief Connie Lazore.