Out in the Open

The struggle to police northern Indigenous communities

Sgt. Jason Storkson says there are many factors keeping officers in Northern Ontario from providing equal policing to the people they serve.
Fort Severn First Nation is a remote community located approximately 850 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. (fortsevern.firstnation.ca)

This story originally aired on October 22, 2016

Being a police officer in any location is tough, but being stationed in the Canadian North provides a very different set of challenges than those faced by your average cop. 

You might have someone in custody. You have no guards, and then you get another call. Do you refuse the call? Do you take that prisoner and re-lodge them in your vehicle and take them to the call?- Sgt. Jason Storkson
Sgt. Jason Storkson (NAPS Local 401)

In the community of Fort Severn First Nation, Ontario, for example, there is only one officer on duty at a time, which means officers have to get creative if there is more than one call to deal with. 

Calling in backup can be fruitless because it takes several hours or even days for backup to arrive.

Sgt. Jason Storkson works for Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS), which polices Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario. He's also the union representative for his fellow officers, and thinks there are many factors keeping them from providing equal policing to the people they serve.