May 30th, 2024

Local roots run deep for new Blood Tribe Police chief

By Lethbridge Herald on January 4, 2022.

New Blood Tribe Police chief Brice Iron Shirt receives a praise song from Kainai elder Patrick Black Plume during his swearing in ceremony on Tuesday at the multi-purpose building in Standoff. Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman – Lethbridge Herald

New Blood Tribe Police chief Brice Iron Shirt was sworn in on Tuesday, marking two decades since a Blood Tribe member has been appointed as Chief of the Blood Tribe Police Service.

“I am from the Blood Tribe community, I was born and raised there, so it is very humbling to become the chief of police,” said Iron Shirt in an interview with the Herald on Monday prior to the swearing in ceremony. 

During the swearing in ceremony on Tuesday in Standoff, Blood Tribe Police Commission chair William Wadsworth highlighted the fact that Iron Shirt has been with the force for quite some time, and being a member of the Blood Tribe community played a big part in selecting him as the new chief of police.

“Choosing him was not a difficult choice, although there were some other very good candidates. But having said that, I think Brice is going to do a good job for us here as part of the Blood Tribe,” said Wadsworth.  

Iron Shirt has an educational background in psychology and human resource management. He has experience in working with diverse Indigenous communities, having served with the File Hills First Nations Police Service in Saskatchewan and as a detachment commander for the Manitoba First Nations Police Service. 

“The stuff I learned there (Manitoba), dealing with tribal government, chief and council and with the community, I am bringing that back here,” said Iron Shirt on Monday. 

He said that one of his priorities as the new chief is to focus on truth and reconciliation and what it means to Indigenous policing. He added that they are going through a transition of becoming more decolonized. 

“I want to bring our own Indigenous crime prevention programs, our own indigenous help out with the alternative measure programs that have already been initiated in the community,” said Iron Shirt Monday. 

Iron Shirt brings 19 years of policing experience, and has taken the reins from Acting Chief of Police, Sergeant Grant Buckskin, who has been in the position for the past four months. 

“I knew I was going to do it even though I took a little bit of time to think about it, because that is what we needed for the service at the time,” said Buckskin.

He said at the time they needed someone to hold everything together and keep the service solid and let everybody know that they were going to be okay. 

“And here we are today, we have a new chief and I am proud of that,” said Buckskin.  

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