UCCM Police Services working with social agencies to intervene before small issues lead to large ones

MANITOULIN—The UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service has announced that it will be hiring a social navigator next month as part of a new pilot program to work with at risk individuals and repeat offenders on Manitoulin and connect them with partner organizations.

“This position is part of an exciting pilot program developed by the UCCM Anishnaabe Police with the assistance of many external organizations,” a press release from the UCCMM Anishnaabe Police Service states. “The social navigator is funded on a three year funding commitment by the Federal Ministry of Public Safety and the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.”

The social navigator position will work with at risk individuals, as well as repeat offenders in the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM) service area, providing support to the individuals in order to reduce their dependence on the judicial and hospital systems by navigating them to the appropriate community organizations through the Maamwi Naadamadaa Community Mobilization HUB Model (for assistance to improve their overall health, safety and quality of life).

The social navigator will serve as head coordinator of the Maamwi Naadamadaa Community Mobilization HUB Model, working as a liaison between the UCCM Police and Maamwi Naadamadaa.

Maamwi Naadamadaa, meaning ‘Let’s Work Together,’ is a UCCMM initiative to connect UCCMM First Nation organizations and service departments together in an effort to better support UCCMM members.

“Maamwi Naadamadaa is supported by all the service organizations within the UCCMM area; UCCMM Tribal Council, Kenjgwein Teg Educational Institute, UCCM Anishnaabe Police, UCCMM Justice Department, Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services, Ojbway Cultural Foundation, Noojmowin Teg Health Services, Mnaamodzawin Health Services and M’Chigeeng Health Services.

“The majority of our front line time is spent on calls for service involving the same individuals,” explained UCCM Police Chief Rodney Nahwegahbow. “A social navigator can work with those individuals at risk and direct them to proper client care, which can reduce the amount of police intervention that may be required for that same client in the future.”

“There is a need to address and reduce the over representation of aboriginal offenders in the Canadian correctional and justice systems,” continued Police Chief Nahwegahbow. “Manitoulin Island shares the same disproportionate numbers of aboriginal offenders in the local correctional system as the federal system. The overall goal of the UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service is to involve other UCCMM service agencies and administer appropriate quality of care to individual in crisis.”

Police Chief Nahwegahbow told The Expositor that the UCCM Police hopes that the social navigator will especially help with early stage intervention. “If we are able to red flag an individual in crisis at the first incident, the social navigator will be able to help that individual get the help that they need through utilizing the services of the (Maamwi Naadamadaa) hub, changing their path.”

Police Chief Nahwegahbow directed individuals interested in learning more about the social navigator position to the UCCM Anishnaabe Police website at uccmpolice.com. The application process closes this Friday, January 23, with the new social navigator to be in position early next month.