const. Tasha Melting Tallow hopes her story will help convince Indigenous youth to consider law enforcement as a career for life.
Blood Tribe member Melting Tallow took part in a recruitment drive Friday in Stand Off, Alta., a Blackfoot community about 200 kilometers south of Calgary.
The 24-year-old said she thought she would be an officer in high school, but life put that dream on hold.
“I got pregnant when I was 15. It’s crazy. I kind of gave up and did the mommy phase for about seven years,” she said during a interview with The Canadian Press.
After the birth of her second child, Melting Tallow said she met a Blood Tribe inspector who encouraged her to apply.
“I started the process where you come out with most everything you’ve done in your past and all the bad things you’ve done. I got the call and here I am,” she said. laughing.
Representatives from the Blood Tribe Police, RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Armed Forces, Calgary and Lethbridge Police and Emergency Services set up kiosks in a local community hall as part of a combination pancake breakfast and career day.
Melting Tallow said she hoped to reach some young people who might think the police are the enemy.
“A lot of people look at the police and think we’re the bad guys, but I don’t think people really take the time to find out who we really are,” she said.
“We are as human as anyone else. I think recruiting young people is just the point of the police. You can give back to your community.”
Acting Sergeant. Hadiga Little Wolf is involved in recruiting for the Blood Tribe. She is from the nearby Piikani Nation and said her experience growing up made her want to help others.
“I was in foster homes. I remember dealing with the police and all of my dealings with the police, I think, were very scary,” Little Wolf said.
“I want to be there to help, just to be that familiar face when you show up on calls so people feel comfortable and trust the police and can talk to them.”
Allan Big Sorrel Horse, who is also from the Blood Tribe, said he hopes to do something good with his life. He is 15 years old, but is already interested in police work.
“I think I would do a good job if I could help. I know a little more. I don’t know if it’s a good thing to admit, but I used to get in trouble. I know how people move, what people are doing there,” he said.
“I don’t like to sit on my butt and be lazy and stuff, and I’ve been doing that a lot lately.”
Building and regaining trust
Calgary Police Const. Andy Buck said the service needs to hire many members in the coming years and that it is important to help the public see that policing is a viable career option.
“There are a lot of opportunities. And in terms of the minimum qualifications for people to apply, most people are going to meet those qualifications, which surprises a lot of people,” Buck said.
“Obviously once they meet those qualifications and submit an application, that’s when the testing starts. Really, it’s an easy career to apply for.”
RCMP constable. Omid Nezami had several young people arrested to ask them to join the national police.
“We value Indigenous communities and we work with Indigenous communities and it’s only right that we help empower and recruit them,” Nezami said.
“We’re here to try to build those trusting relationships and try to win back the trust and show them that they can be part of the solution.”
Little Wolf said she gives the same advice to young people she talks to.
“I would say you’ll never be ready to do something. Just dive in and do it.”