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NAPS welcomes new police chief

Roland Morrison of Moose Factory becomes the first member of Nishnawbe Aski Police Service to rise through the ranks to become chief .
Roland Morrison
Roland Morrison has been named police chief for Nishnawbe Aski Police Service after serving as acting chief since September 2018. (Photo by Doug Diaczuk -

THUNDER BAY - When Roland Morrison joined the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service 22 years ago, he had one goal in mind, which he achieved last month.

“It’s been a goal of mine since I joined in 1997 to become chief,” he said. “To finally get here, it is really, truly an honour to work for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.”

Morrison was named chief of police by the NAPS Police Board at the end of March after serving as the acting chief of police since September 2018 when Terry Armstrong retired from the role.

A member of the Chapleau Cree First Nation, Morrison was born and raised in Moose Factory, which is where he first decided he wanted to become a member of NAPS.

“Initially I just wanted to help my community,” he said. “I saw what the officers did in the community and it was something I wanted to do.”

After high school, Morrison attended Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough before joining the police service. He is the first member of NAPS to rise through the ranks from a frontline officer to chief of police.  

“You can never forget where you come from in your policing career,” Morrison said. “Having worked the frontline in many of the communities within NAPS and Nishnawbe Aski Nation, some of the conditions, they are not ideal, but NAPs officers go in there and they do a great job. It’s important that we don’t forget them and that we support them in their frontline duties.”

Moving forward in his new role, Morrison said one of his top priorities will be growing the compliment of officers within the service.

There is a hiring plan starting this year that will see the addition of 79 officers over the next five years.

“Like any organization, we have to meet our hiring needs,” Morrison said. “We are competing with large services like OPP and larger services in the south, so we have to sell NAPS and the brand and attract the people we want to attract.”

Morrison added NAPS hiring efforts are expanding beyond the province and there has been some successes recruiting officers in Manitoba.

Other priorities for the Police Service are expanding training and the construction of a new training facility, as well as a radio system for officers working in northern communities.

“Our officers up north do not work with any radio communications, so that is something we desperately need,” Morrison said.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Service serves 34 NAN communities and according to Morrison, one of the top priorities for the people living in those communities is addressing the issue of drugs.

“The opiates is very prevalent up north and that is something they want us to tackle,” Morrison said. “When you look at the deployment plan of the 79 officers over the next five years, some of those officers will be dedicated to specialized units to combat what is coming into our communities.”

NAN Grand Chief, Alvin Fiddler, said in a release that he welcomes Morrison to the role as the new chief of police.

“Chief Morrison has extensive experience in the operational and administrative aspects of policing, and we share the Board’s confidence in his ability to lead our dedicated officers and civilian staff into a promising future,” Fiddler said.

“We are confident that his expertise, leadership and dedication to First Nation policing will be a tremendous asset to NAPS and the communities we serve.”

A swearing-in ceremony for Morrison will be held at a later date.  

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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