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Sudbury Police receiving training on Indigenous culture

Police officers in Sudbury are getting awareness training this week on Indigenous culture and communities.
It's mandatory for Sudbury Police to receive Indigenous culture and training. So far, 150 members of the force have taken part in the training. (Sophie Houle-Drapeau/Radio-Canada)
Training on Indigenous issues is mandatory for Greater Sudbury Police. Our Radio-Canada colleague Sophie Houle-Drapeau dropped in on a training session and spoke with trainer George Couchie and Deputy Chief of Police, Allan Lekun. 5:10

Police officers in Sudbury are getting awareness training this week on Indigenous culture and communities.

It's happening at the N'Swakomok Native Friendship Centre and it's mandatory for Sudbury Police.

Retired OPP Sergeant George Couchie, originally from Nipissing First Nation, is facilitating the session.

He says this kind of hands-on training is crucial in policing, especially in an era of reconciliation.

"There's a lot of organizations that want to do online training. But you have to take part in the ceremonies," he explained.

"You have to hear the ... personal stories. I think that's where the biggest change is gonna come. We're such in a rush to learn about Native history and culture. We say 'oh, let's do online training.' We've rushed to get to this point. So we have to slow down."

Sudbury Deputy Police Chief Allan Lekun says it's crucial outreach work in a city with such a significant Indigenous population.

"We've walked down this path for many years, and believe it to be very important to our police service and to our members," he said.

"It really helps us enhance the great working relationship we have with First Nations communities and First Nations people and First Nations organizations that operate in Greater Sudbury."

Lekun says up to 150 members of the Greater Sudbury Police have received the training so far this year.

With files from Waubgeshig Rice