This morning, Algoma University (AU) and the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service (SSMPS) announced the establishment of a new in-service training office within the Convergence Centre located on the University’s Sault Ste. Marie campus. The announcement expands on partnership efforts established last year with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formally established the Shifting Indigenous Frontline Tactics (SHIFT) educational training program for local police personnel.
“We are very pleased to expand our partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service to help facilitate enhanced in-service training for our local police personnel” said Asima Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University. “As a local leader in higher education, we are honoured to support the training needs of our local police service and expect this crucial work on our campus will help spark additional collaboration that will benefit our students, faculty and the community as a whole.”
The new agreement enables SSMPS personnel to access top-quality meeting, classroom and training facilities to support the in-service training needs of the organization, including access to workout studios for defensive tactic training scenarios. The two parties expect the expanded presence will help foster additional collaborative working relationships between the two organizations included the facilitation of experiential learning opportunities for Algoma University students.
In addition, Algoma will facilitate additional offerings of the SHIFT program over the coming year to expand the number of SSMPS who have successfully completed this training. SHIFT aims to bridge the gap between the police services and Indigenous communities by fostering an environment of greater cultural understanding and sensitivity towards Indigenous peoples and communities. Under the supervision of local elders and community members, SHIFT aims to effect positive change within Sault Ste. Marie, while promoting safe interactions between police personnel and Indigenous peoples.
“I am a strong believer in continuing education,” said Chief Hugh Stevenson of the SSMPS. “As a service we encourage all of our members, whether they are in uniform or civilian, to follow the path of self-improvement to enhance their skill set. It is only fitting we provide our members with first-class facilities for our own in-service training. We are thrilled to have this partnership with Algoma University.”
The current agreement will be in place until August 31, 2020.