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Blood Tribe Inspector speaks to Canadian police administrators about inequalities

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.

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New Sask. group aims to ‘break down barriers’ for female police officers

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.

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Veteran officer in P.A. Simonson leads the way for Saskatchewan Women in Policing

Constable Lisa Simonson of the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) became the first-ever president of the Saskatchewan Women in Policing (SWIP).

SWIP was formed to support women in policing and help increase women in leadership roles in the province and officially became a non-profit organization in December 2020.

Simonson said their goal for their members is to create an inclusive and professional environment while focusing on creating a female-centric space for career development. Officers who want to become a member will be able to hear about opportunities in the future. They also want to provide an opportunity for women in policing to connect and have access to training and mentorship.

“The policing and law enforcement community is a male-dominated profession where us women are a minority and there can be barriers for women in policing as they seek advancement or promotion within their respective organizations,” she said. “And collectively, we can work together to break down these barriers and increase women’s representation within leadership roles. More women at the table benefit us all.”

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Simonson explained she had a hand in creating SWIP as she was familiar with similar organizations across Canada such as B.C. Women in Law Enforcement, Alberta Women in Policing (AWIP), Ontario Women in Law Enforcement, and Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement. Because there was no such organization in Saskatchewan, Simonson reached out to a former colleague with AWIP who offered to help her get SWIP off the ground.

Since then, many people in these similar organizations have been mentors to SWIP. She reached out to women in senior executive positions and other ranks across multiple police agencies and RCMP to see if there is a need for this type of organization in the province.

“The response was overwhelming in support to develop an organization like this and that one was long overdue,” she said.

They currently have eight board members who are from numerous different police organizations such as president Cst. Lisa Simonson (PAPS), vice president – Insp. Tonya Gresty (SPS), treasurer – Sgt. Kimberley Stewart (RCMP), professional development director – S/Sgt. Laurel Marshall (RPS), membership director – S/Sgt. Marlie Frei (MJPS), promotion/marketing/social media director – Cst. Andrea Vogel (SPS), events director – Cst. Danielle Stephany – (EPS) and secretary – Cst. Melinda Mintenko (WPS).

“I’m extremely proud to work with a great group of like-minded and motivated women,” she said.

They have received “overwhelming support” from various police organizations through donations that go towards their start-up costs and will be applying for grants in the future. She said they’re currently working on a communications strategy and website development.

“I’ve definitely seen over the years how women’s representation within the policing community and culture has increased,” Simonson said. “We can only get better and be role models for the young policewomen who are coming up behind us.”

PAPS Chief Jon Bergen told paNOW they are proud of Simonson.

“Recognized that there was work that could be done here that is being done elsewhere, and she took the lead,” he said. “She looked for support from the organization, and which of course we 100 per cent give, and she reached out to the other police agencies across the province and said, ‘hey let’s get this going’ and here she’s been elected as the president and [it’s] quite fitting. And we definitely commend what she’s doing.”

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Team Members Extra Data

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Leading Community Policing Bureau’s Crime Suppression and Investigation Division

Nearly a year since its inception, the results are promising, but there is still work to do.

As with many of EPS’ Vision 2020 goals, the Crime Suppression and Investigation Division (CSID) was developed to help relieve the frontline from duties that could be handled by other investigative and problem solving teams, thus improving our customer service to our community.

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In 2020, CPB was reorganized by pulling investigations, projects, and community response work out of patrol. CSID Superintendent Shawna Grimes explained why this was done, “We know that putting more tasks onto our frontline hasn’t worked for us historically. Our goal was to allow patrol members time to focus on the calls for service and investigate them well. Nearly a year since its inception, the results are promising but there is much work still to do.”

Inspector Shannon Dechamplain describes how the Investigative Response Teams have succeeded so far, “Originally, you’d have one or two detectives running a major file. Now there is an entire team dedicated. We are doing a good job with front-end loading and assigning an entire team at the onset and as a result, the work being done in the first hours and days of an investigation is creating huge efficiencies.

Frontline members are taking control of initial investigations. Once stabilized, the file is transitioned to the Investigation Response Teams. Whenever there are opportunities, patrol is staying engaged in the investigation to promote the development of skill sets. As result of the work being completed, we have noticed an increased in confidence in us from other areas throughout the EPS.”

Supt. Grimes explained the Division’s focus for 2021, “We have built and implemented the structure of CSID, so the focus for 2021 is evaluating and addressing identified gaps in our service delivery. We are working closely with Community Safety and Well-being Bureau (CSWB) as we see their success as vital to CPB.”

The Crime Suppression Branch, led by Inspector Angela Kemp, focuses on the identification and investigation of problem places, people, and trends. “We want our focus to be communication with our partners and solve problems in a timely manner. We are collaborating with our stakeholders internally and externally in order to achieve lasting positive impacts for our community.”

The three leaders agree that the full potential of CSID has yet to be realized; however, with the ongoing collaborative support across bureaus within EPS, we are working together to reach the goal of creating a safer Edmonton.

What many have also noticed is that for the first time in EPS’ history, we have three sworn females leading an area of our organization. This is not a focal point for the leaders of CSID, as they recognize the talent of future female leaders with EPS.

They are proud of the numerous accomplishments they have had throughout their careers, acknowledging there were substantial barriers when they each first joined EPS. Supt. Grimes expressed, “I know we’ve moved the bar. The women before us paved the way and the women who follow will continue to do the same. There is a satisfaction to that.”

Collectively, Supt. Grimes, Insp. Kemp and Insp. Dechamplain hope their example will inspire future female leaders to find satisfaction in their career and recognize the leadership opportunities available to them.

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We changed our name (AWIP now is AWIPS)

Formally Alberta Women in Policing, we have made a change to our name; public safety is a shared community responsibility and enforcing the law is only a fraction of what we do every day. As we make moves in policing to change the “us vs them” narrative, language is key. We’re in this together #strongertogether.

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Improving police response to sexual assaults

The Edmonton Police Service’s Sexual Assault Section is collaborating with the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) to better serve the needs of sexual assault survivors by participating in Sexual Violence Advocacy Case (SVAC) reviews.

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A Canadian initiative, the reviews aim to improve police response to investigating sexual assaults and violence against women by determining if there were any instances of implicit gender bias that could have compromised an investigation.

“This mutually beneficial police-community initiative is part of an overall commitment to serving sexual assault survivors better,” says Inspector Sean Armstrong, of the EPS’ Serious Crimes Branch. “To do that, we need to understand the challenges survivors face in reporting sexual assault and help our partners understand how these cases are handled.”

The SVAC review team, which is comprised of SACE representatives, conducts reviews that take a second look at EPS files that did not lead to charges, and provides feedback to help ensure the needs of sexual assault survivors are being met.

“The review team takes into consideration anything they believe may have inadvertently affected a sexual violence investigation,” explains EPS Sexual Assault Section Staff Sergeant Terrie Affolder. “It could be anything from barriers survivors faced, to long-standing societal myths and stereotypes surrounding sexual assault. We want to know these things, because we are constantly improving the way we handle our investigations.”

Scheduled to be done on a quarterly basis, the reviews look at all concluded files that don’t go to charge within the quarter or review period. So far, the review team has examined 251 files over the course of two review sessions, the first in October 2020, the second in January of this year.

According to literature spanning more than 40 years, a primary factor in underenforcement in violence-against-women files is the influence of systemic and social gendered bias and myths against victims of sex crimes, which can influence the initial response to an investigation. It can also lead to concluding a sexual assault case as ‘unfounded.’

To combat this, reform methods across Canada, — like the EPS’ SVAC Case Review — have been developed and implemented in law enforcement agencies in recent years, leading to the creation of community networks, sexual assault and domestic violence response sections, and enhanced training initiatives.

The foundation of the SVAC Case Review is modelled on the Violence Against Women Advocate Case Review that was created in 2016 by Sunny Marriner, sexual violence justice advocate and former Executive Director of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. An adaptation of the Philadelphia Model, the program allows independent agencies to work with police to review cases of sexual assault that did not lead to a charge.

Sergeant Brad Kline, with the EPS Sexual Assault Section, states that Marriner trained the Edmonton review team before they began assessing any files, and that her input and instruction was critical in ensuring the project got off on the right foot.

“We are grateful to be working alongside a strong partner like SACE. The process itself has been really smooth so far and the feedback we’ve gotten has been excellent,” says Sgt. Kline.
“The review process will be continually evaluated and improved upon as we go along, but through this format, we are now working to incorporate what we’ve learned, such as where we can improve our response to survivors and incorporate this into future training.”

As the primary collaborator in this endeavour, SACE’s expertise in sexual violence plays a key role in reviewing the investigative files. Following each review, results are communicated to the EPS Sexual Assault Section to be assessed, shared with police and incorporated into future sexual assault investigative training.

“Statistically speaking, we know that out of every 100 people who are sexually assaulted, only five will report,” says Mary Jane James, CEO, SACE. “From those five, only one case will move forward to charges. This is out of sync with almost every other type of crime. Our role in this collaboration is to be advocates for those four sexual assault survivors whose cases didn’t go to charges, and support EPS in addressing the factors that result in low charge rates.”

James notes that Edmonton is now the twentieth city in Canada to implement this case review model: “We’re very grateful for EPS’s desire and willingness to both be involved and invite learning from those of us who work with sexual violence and trauma. We’re hopeful that through this independent oversight, we’ll be able to help EPS improve reporting experiences for sexual assault survivors who choose a criminal justice response.”

Source: Edmonton Police Service (https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/)

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RCMP launches the 2021 Name the Puppy contest

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police needs your help to name puppies that will become Canada’s future RCMP police dogs.

The Police Dog Service Training Centre (PDSTC) in Innisfail, Alberta, is asking young Canadians to suggest names for 13 German shepherd puppies that will be born at the Centre in 2021.

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Children are encouraged to be original and imaginative in finding names that will serve these puppies well in their careers with Canada’s national police force.

When thinking of names, it is important to keep in mind that these are working police dogs, not pets.

Winning names will be chosen by the PDSTC staff. A draw will determine the winning entry in the event of multiple submissions of the same puppy name.

Although there can be only 13 winners, names not selected for the contest will be considered for other puppies born during the year.

Prizes

The 13 children whose names are selected will each receive a laminated 8×10-inch photo of the pup they name, a plush dog named Justice and an RCMP water bottle.

Contest rules

  • Names must begin with the letter “P”
  • Names must have no more than 9 letters
  • Names must be 1 or 2 syllables
  • Contestants must live in Canada
  • Contestants must be 4 to 14 years old
  • Only 1 entry per child will be eligible
  • Entries must be received by March 18, 2021

Enter online

To enter the contest, visit us online:

https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/depot/name-the-puppy-contest

Submitting artwork

We no longer accept entries sent through the mail. However, we still love receiving drawings and paintings! After entering online, children have the option to email their artwork to the Police Dog Service Training Centre at puppy-chiot@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

All contest entries must be submitted online. We cannot accept contest entries by email.

Important dates

The deadline for entries is March 18, 2021.

Contest winners and the winning names will be announced on April 28, 2021, on the RCMP website and social media.

About the Police Dog Service Training Centre

The PDSTC is home to the RCMP national police dog training program and is a part of RCMP Depot Division. The Centre has earned a great reputation for breeding top-quality working German shepherds and for training dogs with outstanding searching and tracking abilities.

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Contact information

Insp. Alana McLeod or Sgt. Claudio Maurizio
RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre
Telephone number: 403-227-3346

Stay connected

Hashtags

English: #namethepuppy
French: #nommelechiot

Twitter

English: @RCMPDepot
French: @GRCDepot

Instagram

English: rcmpdepot
French: grcdepot

Facebook

English: facebook.com/rcmpdepot
French: facebook.com/grcdepot

 

Source: Royal Canadian Mounted Police (https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/)

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