Alberta Women In Public Safety
AWIP Supports, Connects and Mentor’s Women
Across Agencies and Advocates for Women in Alberta’s Public Safety Community.
AWIPS is a growing group of women leaders within Alberta public safety agencies working to improve opportunities and outcomes for women in Public Safety. #strongertogether
Our goal is to create an inclusive culture that supports the growth and development of women in Alberta’s Public Safety community.
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Alberta’s colours are blue and gold to represent the prairies, mountains and the sky. The morning star acknowledges Indigenous people as it’s part of traditional creation teachings, for many nations.
Blood Tribe Police Service inspector Farica Prince has been in policing since 2001. In that time, she has been a constable for two different indigenous police services and was an instructional facilitator for the RCMP. She has seen a lot and is a strong advocate for racial and gender equality within Canadian policing circles.
In mid-April, Prince, along with Suelyn Knight of Toronto Police Service and Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie of Halton Ontario Police were the guest speakers of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP)’s national webinar “Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee on Implicit Bias and Forms of Racism; Police Leadership 101 in 2021.”
The webinar was “to support its efforts and its membership to create and enhance practices that promote fairness equity and inclusion through the identification, mitigation, and elimination of the impact of implicit bias and discrimination in practices and policies that may support systemic barriers, and to promote the advancement of diversity within policing institutions.”
Prince says it was an honour to speak at the webinar. She has been an active member of Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police since 2018.
“One of the first things after joining the association, I was looking for a spot on one of the committees so I could contribute to the decision-making process and enhance discussions and thought processes, difference scopes of the CACP and at that time, the Equity, the Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee was just made a standing committee as opposed to a committee. They were looking for representation and since EDI Human Resources stuff is what I am super-motivated to do right now and it was a natural fit”
Prince is an incredible resource of knowledge. International Association of Women Police, Alberta Association of Chief’s of Police, Canadian Association of Chief’s of Police, First Nation’s Chief’s of Police Association and Alberta Women in Policing and Alberta Women in Public Safety group, she also has a prestigious Bachelor of Policing from Charles Sturt University (2019) in Australia.
Source: Prairie Post
SASAKTOON — Throughout Cst. Lisa Simonson’s 21-year career as a police officer, she’s wanted guidance from female law enforcement leaders.
She couldn’t find anything formal, though. There were non-profits dedicated to female police and law enforcement officers in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, but no such organization existed in Saskatchewan.
So she decided to help create one.
Saskatchewan Women in Policing (SWIP) had their first board meeting in November. The eight board members are women in the policing and law enforcement industry from across the province. Simonson, who works in major crimes at the Prince Albert Police Service, is the organization’s inaugural president.
“It’s about the support, the connection, the mentorship, the female-centric training, those professional connections because we want to be there to lift each other up as we navigate our way through this profession, ” she said.
While policing is an exciting and rewarding career, she said, it doesn’t come without challenges – particularly for women.
“I look to overcome, educate and try and break down those barriers,” said Simonson.
She said SWIP includes transgender women and non-binary people.
Michelle Davey, deputy chief of the Delta Police Department in B.C., wrote a master’s thesis in 2020 about female barriers to promotion in Canada’s policing industry. The report includes returning to shift work after maternity leave, pregnancy, tokenism and negative self-perception as barriers for women.
“These barriers exist, in part, because policing as a profession remains male-dominated, with very few women holding senior or supervisory positions,” wrote Davey.
Simonson said she hopes to change that through SWIP and get more women involved in the industry. It’s also important to have female representation while speaking to people on often sensitive subjects, who may be comfortable speaking with a woman over a man, she said.
Simonson explained that the Prince Albert Police Service is about 15 per cent women, slightly below the average of other municipal police services in Saskatchewan.
SWIP’s Vice-President is Insp. Tonya Gresty of the Saskatoon Police Service.
“It’s created an opportunity for me to step into a gap where women are able to access mentors in the leadership roles within the policing community,” she said.
Gresty said there are only four women out of 41 executive members at the table making decisions for municipal police services in the province.
“As one of those members, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to show up and be present and to be accessible as a mentor to women who are coming up in our profession.”
Gretsy added that having female policing mentorship is especially important in smaller communities, where there might be even fewer women in the police service.
Both Simonson and Gresty said the organization has received a lot of support from their police services and associations, as well as the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers and the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police.
The board also consists of Sgt. Kimberley Stewart (RCMP), S/Sgt. Laurel Marshall (Regina Police Service), S/Sgt. Marlie Frei (Moose Jaw Police Service), Cst. Andrea Vogel (Saskatoon Police Service) Cst. Danielle Stephany (Estevan Police Service) and Cst. Melinda Mintenko (Weyburn Police Service).