By Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM
Kyle Melting Tallow will now take on the role of chief of the Blood Tribe Police Service after serving as acting police chief for the past two years.
Melting Tallow is from Siksika Nation, and grew up on reserve.
He first joined the Siksika police in 1998, and, after the agency closed four years later, moved on to work with Tsuut’ina police. All of his service has been with First Nations policing and in Treaty 7 in southern Alberta.
He told Jeremy Harpe of CFWE-FM a couple of cousins were members of the RCMP, and his father served with Siksika police, and that’s what inspired Melting Tallow to enter the policing field.
“Those role models really helped (me) to look at giving back to the community, helping the community and being a role model for other youth, as well,” Melting Tallow said.
While he’s been serving in an acting chief position, the new permanent role allows an embodiment of the vision of the service, including how policing should be done on reserve.
“And, really, how does the public want to be policed.” It’s a partnership he has been working on during the last year-and-a-half or more. It’s about engagement with the community. He said the service members need to be community police officers rather than law enforcement.
“I’ve been here throughout most of my career, and really have understood the needs and wants and expectations of the community… Just being more in tune…growing up on reserve and knowing the conditions and really living through some of the challenge that a lot of people still face here. So that perspective really helped out to drive some of these initiatives forward, which is really community-minded policing.”
Recently, Melting Tallow went back to school for a Master’s degree with Royal Roads University. He said his studies have really helped in the transition from specific case management to a broader perspective of leadership.
He is on the tail-end of the program and will soon graduate. “That is the most recent achievement that I’m proud to be a part of.”
On Siksika, as in other First Nations policing services, funding is a constant challenge. Siksika policing is underfunded and under resources, said Melting Tallow. “But we are doing more with less.”
All members are generalists, attending all calls. Melting Tallow says it would be advantageous to have some specialists on the team in order to “really do a quality, top-notch job” to meet the expectations of the public.
“The way we are funded is definitely challenging.” He is working on establishing a funding agreement that is longer than just five years, so the service can plan its future as opposed to “living in the moment… Unfortunately, that’s how the First Nation policing program operates.”
He said Blood Tribe currently struggles with an over-abundance of addicted individuals on reserve “and we want to get them some help, and we want to do our part with diminishing the flow of the illicit drug market onto the reserve.”
Melting Tallow will be sworn in at the Kainai powwow celebration on July 21.