“Alex Decoteau!” Alex stepped forward at the sound of his name. The small crowd of family members and well-wishers who came to witness the swearing-in of the city’s newest police officers, clapped in appreciation.
One hundred and thirteen years ago, Alex Decoteau made Canadian policing history.
The young Metis man from Saskatchewan moved to Edmonton in 1909 to work in his brother-in-law’s machine shop. Two years later, Alex joined the Edmonton Police Department, becoming the first Aboriginal police officer in Canada.
Now, Alex’s life story is the subject of LEGACY OF HEROES, a digital comic produced by the Edmonton Police Service.
Alex came to attention; back straight, chest out. Chief of Police A.C. Lancey pinned a shiny silver badge to Alex’s dark blue uniform. The Chief offered Alex his hand. As Alex took it, the Chief said, “Welcome to the Edmonton Police Department.” Alex beamed. Today was the proudest moment of his life.
A special printing of three thousand copies of this issue of LEGACY OF HEROES were distributed to students who attended the Truth and Reconciliation Event in Edmonton in March 2014.
“The TRC had never heard Alex Decoteau’s story before,” says Staff Sergeant Dan Jones, who heads up the Service’s Aboriginal Relations Unit. “They were impressed by what I told them. Alex’s story is very inspirational.”
For more about Alex Decoteau, watch the following video interviews with Decoteau's niece, Izola Mottershead.