Yetsreday afternoon was the perfect day to mark a milestone in Manitoba First Nations Police Service (MFNPS). Acting Chief Rick Head, was sworn in with family, friends, and colleagues at the Rufus Prince Building grounds near Portage la Prairie, amid wonderful sunny weather. He was sworn in by Honourable Judge Jean McBride, with guest speakers including MFNPS Inspector Bruno Rossi, Long Plain First Nation Chief Dennis Meeches, Police Commission Vice Chair Sherri Thomas, and First Nations Policing Director Wes Courchene.

Head was the last chief for Dakota Ojibway Police Service (DOPS), and the first for the MFNPS. Head talks about how it feels to officially be Chief now.

“It was fantastic to be surrounded with colleagues, both previous ones and new ones, and of course my friends,” says Head. “It was a great day with friends and family — happy to celebrate and have some food, and celebrate this milestone in my life. I did almost 25 years with the RCMP. I had a pretty vested career there. I had no intention at first to leave the RCMP. But as I worked longer in a secondment with then-DOPS, the idea warmed up on me. I just began to love working here and loved working with the people.”

Head thinks he found what he needs to do next in life. He notes it was tough and involved a lot of decisions, seeing as he thought of the future and what he was walking away from. But at the end of the day he says he has no regrets and loved every day over the past year at his new location.

He explains, with the RCMP, you can move every three to five years, but he’ll be in the area now for at least five years, according to conditions of employment with MFNPS. Head says he’s more settled and rooted here as well, and notes he loves the area, making it a great combination.

Head adds when he was seconded to work at DOPS, there hadn’t been leadership for a couple of years, aside from acting chiefs. He notes part of his gift is to come into places that are hurting to bring some healing and perhaps bring a different approach.

He says the changeover of the name Manitoba First Nations Police Service from DOPS was intended to be more inclusive of all indigenous peoples of Manitoba, noting there are the Cree, Dene, and not just Dakota or Ojibway or other First Nations. He says this puts them in a position of possible growth if other communities want their services. He explains if First Nation communities want more self-governance with their own indigenous police force, they’re open to those ideas and discussions in the future.

Head adds he thanks all those who came out yesterday, especially his family, his wife Jeannie and his daughter Rachel. He says his other daughters Kayla and Tamara couldn’t attend, but he’s grateful to them and the influence they’ve had on him through the years which led him to where he is now.

Story courtesy of Portage Online

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