Tsuut'ina break ground on new police building

Ground was broken Tuesday on a new headquarters for Tsuut’ina Nation Police.

Construction expected to start Aug. 1 to be completed by end of 2016

The Tsuut'ina police will be moving into a new building after sharing their current space, which has holding cells in a trailer, with a daycare. 0:37

Ground was broken Tuesday on a new headquarters for Tsuut'ina Nation Police.

It's a long awaited facility for a growing force that currently shares space with a daycare and has some cells in a trailer, according to Tsuut'ina Chief Roy Whitney.

He said work on the roughly $5 million project — being funded by the Tsuut'ina Nation — is expected to begin Aug. 1 and be completed within six months.

Tsuut'ina Nation Chief Roy Whitney listens to a prayer during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new police detachment. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

"We should have a full, utilized facility come December," he said.

Whitney encouraged youth to look into policing as a career choice.

"Policing is a good thing, it's an opportunity for you to protect the interests and the long-range planning of our community," he said.

"It's an opportunity for you to come together to provide a relationship that goes much deeper than just giving out tickets and picking up people for warrants, but having the ability to create a dialogue, an understanding of who we are as Tsuut'ina."

24 officers 

The building will be "reflective of our community," said police Chief Keith Blake.

"Each room will be dedicated to something in our community that means something to the people of Tsuut'ina," he said.

"It will be representative of all the people here, the culture, the tradition and the history. We intend to have an opportunity for the Tsuut'ina Nation to give us input on what they think each room should be. There's a tremendous amount of cultural history here."

Some plans are already in place, said Blake.

"Finally we'll have an opportunity to have an elders room, where the nation elders can come in, have a cup of coffee, talk to us and pass on their wisdom," he said.

"We're going to have a commission room, we'll have state-of-the-art interview rooms, we'll have the opportunity for our Victim's Services programs to have space."

Officers prepare for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Tsuut'ina Nation police building. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

The Tsuut'ina Nation Fire Department administration will also move into the new building and it will house holding cells for prisoners.

Currently made up of 24 officers, Blake described the Tsuut'ina Nation police as diverse.

"We've grown a great deal over the last two years, we've more than doubled in size," he said.

"We have First Nation members who come from Tsuut'ina, we have First Nation members from all across Canada and non-First Nation."

With files from the CBC's Evelyne Asselin