Assiniboine instructor, former Winnipeg chief of police receives award for work on First Nations Safety Officer program
April 12, 2018
An Assiniboine Community College program to provide training for safety officers in rural and remote First Nations communities was heralded as a success at the Champions of Aboriginal Employment luncheon yesterday in Brandon, Man.
The event, organized by the Interprovincial Association on Native Employment Westman Chapter (IANE), recognizes the important work of the community in providing employment initiatives and opportunities for First Nations and Métis peoples.
Jack Ewatski, a coordinator and instructor at Assiniboine Community College and current board of governors member, received an award for his work with the First Nations Safety Officer program (FNSO) delivered by the college.
“I wanted to use some of the experiences I had in policing to give back to the next generation of students seeking out a career in this field,” said Ewatski. “The program is very positive and having individuals from those communities receive a level of training to go back into those communities is a positive as well.”
Ewatski has worked at Assiniboine to deliver the program since its inception. Prior to joining the college, he spent more than 36 years in policing and public safety, having served internationally with various agencies and police services, including serving as Chief of the Winnipeg Police Service.
“With all our award winners, they are doing exceptional work, whether hiring six people or in Jack’s case, training hundreds. It is really that good work we want to recognize,” said Doug Pople, chair of the IANE Westman Chapter.
Since the Safety Officer program began in January 2016, both the FNSO and CSO (Community Safety Officer) programs have provided training for more than 200 graduates, representing regions throughout the province.
With the discontinuation of the band constable program, Assiniboine began offering provincially-approved mandatory training for First Nations and community safety officers. The FNSO program also provides avenues for the specialized training of students in communities that face unique public safety needs, as well as offering the skills to provide proactive crime prevention strategies for use by graduates when returning home.
Once their training is complete, officers are responsible for crime prevention, enforcing band bylaws and some specific provincial laws. The graduates work closely with local law enforcement agencies throughout the province.
“We really try to promote a shared learning experience. At the end of the course, it never ceases to amaze me the growth that I see in a very short period of time,” said Ewatski.
Assiniboine Community College president Mark Frison echoed Ewatski’s sentiment.
“Assiniboine has partnered with various First Nations and Métis communities across Manitoba to provide this specialized training,” said Frison. “We pride ourselves on the quality of graduates these programs produce and the important role they play in providing for the safety and security of residents in their home communities.”