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Two RCMP officers in red serge, two Indigenous men and one woman wearing head-dress regalia.

Piikani Nation RCMP focus on reconciliation and community engagement

Alberta RCMP are actively involved in the ongoing reconciliation process, with a dedicated effort from detachment members Alberta-wide to strengthen trust and build collaborative relationships with all Indigenous community members.

Officers throughout the province are actively listening and taking affirmative steps to formalize working relationships with Indigenous partners while consulting with them on community policing initiatives.

Sgt. Vince Bacon, the newly appointed detachment commander of Piikani Nation RCMP, and his team are wholly committed to enhancing relationships between the Piikani First Nation community and the police officers serving them.

“Our history has left generational scars on the lives of many. I know that we are just at the beginning of a long journey, and to rekindle that trust and to strengthen relationships will take time,” Bacon says.

“At first glance, policing a rural community versus an urban centre would seem as different as the landscapes themselves, but no matter the size of the community, we have a responsibility to those we serve. Part of that is actively participating in the healing process.”

Over the past eight months, Bacon and his team have concentrated on addressing policing gaps and priorities while fostering transparency and trust within the community. They aim to break the cycle of discrimination, violence, and neglect within the criminal justice system.


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With a renewed outlook and plan, the goal is to establish relationships based on mutual respect and trust, encouraging community members to feel comfortable seeking police assistance without fear.

“Ultimately, everyone here has the same common goal — keeping your communities safe and secure for all residents,” Bacon says.

“But we cannot do this alone. When establishing our policing priorities, consultation is key. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. We cannot make decisions that affect you, without you.”

Understanding the significance of community involvement, detachment officers are encouraged to participate in traditional Indigenous events and ceremonies to enhance their cultural understanding.

“One of the best ways to build relationships is to meet face to face with Indigenous leaders, elders and community members as much as possible,” Bacon says.

“This allows us the opportunity to listen, to learn and to set priorities based on feedback from the community, as they teach us traditional Indigenous values that are unique to them.”



Red mural with Blackfoot Winter Count imagery painted on exterior wall of Piikani Nation RCMP detachment.

A wall mural on the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment building created with symbolic Blackfoot Winter Count imagery. Photo courtesy of Piikani Nation RCMP.


Bacon also wants officers to hear stories from elders and the community, even if those stories are sometimes difficult to hear.

“To benefit a community is to be part of the community,” he says. “Finding the time to acknowledge people in the communities that we police is important.”

He adds that all detachment vehicles have a Blackfoot Piikani decal as a sign of integration within the community.

With multiple collaborative projects underway, the detachment most recently finished a mural wall with symbolic Blackfoot Winter Count imagery. It serves as a pictorial calendar representing significant community events chosen by community leadership and elders.

After an impactful year of engagement, detachment employees have gained a deeper understanding of the backgrounds, cultures and experiences within Piikani First Nation.

The community has recognized and honoured the detachment’s commitment by awarding them a golden community medallion, gifted by the elders as a token of appreciation for their dedication to learning about the community’s culture and history.

“We must be open to listening,” says Bacon. “It is the little things that can make a significant impact.”


Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


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Piikani RCMP arrest five on drug charges

Piikani Nation RCMP arrested five people Tuesday in the Brocket townsite.

Four females and one male are charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking — Schedule I: Methamphetamine (and analogues), and one of the females was also charged under the trespassing act.

RCMP encourage residents to continue reporting drug dealers and information about other illegal activity by contacting the Piikani Nation detachment at 403-965-3300.

Tips can also be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477, through the P3 Tips app (available from Google Play or the Apple Store), or online at Your anonymity is protected and you may be eligible for a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest.

If you witness a crime in progress or an emergency, call 911.


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Piikani woman arrested, cocaine trafficking charge laid

Piikani Nation RCMP arrested an unnamed 24-year-old female following a Jan. 8 search of a home in Brocket. RCMP executed the search warrant after receiving several anonymous tips through the Crime Stoppers program.

Found in the residence were ½ ounce of suspected crack cocaine, multiple unconfirmed prescription medications and drug paraphernalia.

A charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking in a controlled substance has been laid relating to the cocaine.

The woman was released on her own undertaking and will make her first court appearance Mar. 7 in Pincher Creek.

A local state of emergency was declared on Jan. 2 by the Piikani chief and council in response to the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis.

Anyone with information regarding drug activity or any other crime can phone Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Information and tips can also be sent online at or by cellphone using the P3 Tips app.



Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta


Dano's Hydro Heaven in Pincher Creek fully engulfed in flames in the darkness on Jan. 9, 2023.

Pincher Creek fire crews respond to two fires just minutes apart

An investigation is underway into the cause of two fires late Tuesday afternoon in Pincher Creek.

The blazes, reported just minutes apart, happened at a home in the 600-block of Adelaide Street and a business at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street.

“This one [Dano’s Hydro Heaven] was our first reported structure fire on which we received multiple call-ins,” explained fire Chief Pat Neumann Tuesday evening. “As we arrived on scene, we got reports of a second structure fire.”

Officials are looking into a possible connection.

While more details are expected in the coming days, Neumann confirmed the first 911 calls of the downtown blaze came in at about 5:05 p.m.

Smoke and, eventually, flames could be seen coming from the building following a large blast that buckled its west wall. This gained the attention of people at nearby businesses, including staff at Canada Post, and those walking in the area.



Neumann said Pincher Creek Emergency Services crews from Pincher Creek, Beaver Mines and Lundbreck were called out. Mutual aid was also provided on the house fire by Cowley Fire Rescue, while paramedics from Pincher Creek and Peigan District Ambulance Service in Brocket were dispatched to administer medical aid.

RCMP from Pincher Creek and the Piikani Nation were also at the scene of both fires to help with traffic control.

Witnesses report seeing a handcuffed male inside a police cruiser near the Adelaide Street blaze, but authorities have yet to confirm if the person or persons responsible have been taken into custody.

Both structures were completely destroyed and, at this point, it’s too early to determine the cost of damage in either case.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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Piikani Nation logo of buffalo on drum with feathers, on red background

Three Piikani Nation members lost to apparent drug overdoses

RCMP on the Piikani Nation are looking into the deaths of three women, between the ages of 30 and 60, believed to have died from fentanyl overdoses.

Few details have been released but Alberta RCMP public information officer Troy Savinkoff confirmed to Shootin’ the Breeze that the women were found deceased in separate instances on Dec. 25, 27 and 29.

While the deaths show signs of drug overdose, Savinkoff added, the final determination will be made by the medical examiner assigned to the case.

Piikani RCMP issued a warning Dec. 27, shared by Piikani Tsi Nii Ka Sin, of a “bad batch of drugs” in circulation in the area after the second death, adding that narcan administration did not appear to be successful.

On Tuesday, Chief Troy Knowlton and Piikani Nation council enacted a state of emergency for the community. Under the Federal Emergencies Act, Knowlton said it will allow measures to prevent drug use, improve emergency treatment and provide additional resources to agencies dealing with both drug abuse and its side effects.



The chief opened a Jan. 3 statement by saying, “The situation affecting our nation is not unique to us. Drugs, especially opioids and fentanyl, may prove to be the public policy challenge of the century, affecting every community from coast to coast. However, in a tight-knit community like ours, the impacts of drugs, especially addiction and, tragically, death, particularly among our youth, reverberate pain throughout our entire nation.”

Acknowledging that Piikani Nation is facing a long-term and complicated issue, the chief and council plan to take action by working with local RCMP to crack down on gangs and drug traffickers with augmented law-enforcement measures to tackle the source of the problem.

“It is my goal, and the goal of my council, to bring an end to or at least significantly reduce the availability of drugs,” Knowlton said, “and to prevent deaths among those who have had their lives ensnared by drugs.”

His words come just days after a Dec. 27 Alberta RCMP report stated that officers responded to over 100 per cent more drug overdoses provincewide from January to November 2023 than in all of 2022 — with fentanyl at the centre of most of the fatalities.

The RCMP statistics also revealed a nearly 25 per cent climb in naloxone deployments by its members in 2023 compared to the year prior. 

An even more alarming figure: 1,262 opioid-related deaths occurred in Alberta from January to August of last year, 255 higher than in the same period of 2022.


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Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull, teenaged Indigenous girl with shoulder-length brown hair and braces. Missing from Piikani Nation.

Missing Piikani Teen – Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull

RCMP on the Piikani Nation are appealing for the public’s help in finding a missing 17-year-old girl.

Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull was last seen in Brocket at noon this past Monday, Nov. 20. Authorities are worried for the teen’s well-being and would like to speak with her.

Jalessa Joy is described as being about 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 95 pounds. She has brown hair with black tips, and brown eyes. It’s believed she was wearing black clothing, including a thin black sweater.

Anyone with information of Jalessa Joy’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment at 403-965-2000. 

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), if you wish to remain anonymous or go online to


Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.