Manitoba First Nations Police Service (MFNPS) had a very significant first take place. Corporal Derek Smoke says their first training program has been in operation since the middle of October and the recruits are graduating next month. He notes it's to fill voids for police officers in the communities within the MFNPS jurisdiction.

"It's a six-month course," says Smoke. "It's facilitated by Assiniboine Community College and they send out instructors. Then we have our own instructors for various programs within that training. We're looking at graduating 11 from the class on April 19th."

Smoke explains the training is intense, especially as they took a nine to ten-month course and compressed it to one six-month stretch. 

"This is very physically and very mentally challenging. But you know, to see the transformation from when the recruits started to where they are now, both physically and mentally, it's been amazing. The biggest part of our training is taking place out in Southport, so we've utilized the gymnasium, and different vacant buildings for different types of training. But we have a classroom right on campus and some of the recruits are also staying on campus as well as some of the hotel rooms there." 

Derek SmokeCorporal Derek Smoke

Smoke explains it's been a challenge based on the sheer fact that it's their first-ever training effort. Nevertheless, he says it's still been a great adventure for himself and the recruits., 

"The other instructors that have come in have great respect for everything that's happened and they're very happy with the outcome that they've seen so far, as well as myself. I liaise with the chief of police and the inspectors, and they're pretty much very happy with the outcome of everything. We have some recruits that have some really high marks academically and physically, as well."

He adds he'll miss them when the training is over, but they have to get their feet on the ground and their manpower is needed out there. 

The graduation is taking place at Southport and they're in the polishing-up phase of the course. Smoke says he's looking forward to watch them flourish when they enter the force.

"There have been talks that we are going to be doing another recruit class come October. So, we are looking for applicants. That's kind of where we're at right now. I look forward to the next group that we have and again, like I said, I grew a great fondness for the recruits that we have going on. So, I'll miss them. But good luck to them, as well."