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tribal police

The controversial and sometimes tumultuous one-year postings of two RCMP veterans into the ranks of the Stl'alt'imx Nation Tribal Police will not be extended. Marc Tremblay and Joe DePaulo became the first RCMP officers in B.C. to join the ranks of the tribal police when they reported to the Mount Currie and Lillooet branches of the Stl'alt'imx force last January. Tremblay was transferred back into an RCMP unit in Vernon several weeks ago and DePaulo was assigned to desk duty at the beginning of December as he awaits to be tried on two counts of assault stemming from an off-duty incident at a bar last September. "Marc is a good RCMP man but his military thinking didn't fit in with the tribal police program. We bring the human aspect into policing and he didn't catch onto it," tribal police board chair Ernest Armann said. The Stl'alt'imx tribal police was initiated in 1992 as a pilot project and is staffed by aboriginal people from the 11-band nation. Armann said the purpose of bringing the RCMP into the tribal force was to learn from their administrative experience. "From that perspective, I would give the program a pass. But we need to develop our own program and create our own mark. We've had a lot of problems in the last while and it's time to take charge and not be dependent on the RCMP," he said. "The RCMP were actually going to pull Joe but we asked them not to. They complied but said Joe is to be restricted to administrative duties — he's not allowed to wear a uniform now," he said. DePaulo's entry into the tribal police came within weeks of a First Nations male being shot by an RCMP officer at Bridge River. He was placed in the hot seat for about four hours in a public forum questioning his appointment. "The timing was atrocious. To be honest, I don't think we would have had any problems if that (the shooting) hadn't of happened," then-Chief Const. Oliver Williams said. He linked the controversy to the shooting and the perception that DePaulo was being controlled by the RCMP. At the time, Williams said the only connection DePaulo and Tremblay had to the RCMP were their paycheques. Williams has since been dismissed from the tribal police, but Armann would not elaborate on the cause of his departure: "It's with the lawyers and it will be settled in court. I can't comment." In yet another twist, Armann said DePaulo may take a leave of absence from the RCMP to remain with the tribal police for an indefinite period of time. He pointed out that such a move would be dependent on the outcome of his trial.

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