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).
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/)
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.
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.
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.
- 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
To enter the contest, visit us online:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
All contest entries must be submitted online. We cannot accept contest entries by email.
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.
Insp. Alana McLeod or Sgt. Claudio Maurizio
RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre
Telephone number: 403-227-3346
Source: Royal Canadian Mounted Police (https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/)
At a recent Edmonton City Council meeting to discuss various policing issues, Chief Dale McFee noted that nearly $23 million had already been diverted from the police budget to create a new Bureau designed to do a “different kind of policing.”
Police work is more than taking guns off the street and putting bad guys behind bars,” says Chief Dale McFee. “There’s a whole other side to our job where success is measured in the number of people we divert away from the criminal justice system toward services like housing, mental health and addictions.
A first of its kind in Canada, the new Community Safety and Well-being Bureau seeks to move vulnerable citizens away from the criminal justice system and towards community agencies that can provide the necessary support– everything from addictions counselling and housing to employment, basic life skills and healthcare. It recognizes that the traditional police model of arresting an individual or delivering a fine usually doesn’t address any of the underlying challenges that person is facing. In police terms, this approach is called “off-ramping”, because it allows individuals to exit off a pathway that is seemingly destined for a judge or criminal record, and towards an approach that enables an individual to work with community agencies and services to improve their quality of life.
Our purpose is to understand the root cause of the issues and the barriers facing the individual and get them the supports necessary to address and resolve these issues”, says Acting Superintendent Kellie Morgan. “Something is causing these citizens to generate calls for police intervention. We want to understand what that is and help direct and support them in accessing the appropriate resources to address their needs.
There is another benefit to having an entire Bureau dedicated to helping individuals break their cycle of disruptive behaviour. Because one person can be responsible for many calls for service to police, finding a solution that meets their long-term needs ultimately reduces the number of times they will require police response. This, in turn, frees up police to provide service to other citizens and address larger issues causing crime, victimization, and disorder.
Our work is helping someone directly improve their quality of life, says Sergeant Shawn Ottenbreit, who is part of the Bureau’s new Human-centred Engagement and Liaison Partnership Unit. Being part of the solution and knowing that our work is making a difference – that’s rewarding.”
Although the Community Safety and Well-being Bureau is relatively new, “social policing” has been underway at the Edmonton Police Service for the past several years. Programs such as the Heavy Users of Service (HUoS) and Police and Crisis Team (PACT) have been offered in partnership with other providers, like Boyle Street Community Services and Alberta Health Services. Their successes solidified the need for a Bureau, which is now looking to partner with more agencies to help an even broader range of citizens.
“The role of policing has evolved over the years, that’s what we mean when we say, ‘balance support with enforcement’,” says Chief McFee. “As first responders, we play a vital role in connecting people with the services they need while also holding offenders that disrupt public safety and cause harm accountable.”
As we celebrate International Human Rights Day, we also mark a new day for police-community relationships in Canada. On this day, we acknowledge the universal rights and freedoms that we are all entitled to, the right to live free and safe without discrimination regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, identity, or any other status.
While this declaration has existed for over 70 years, two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, transgender, and queer individuals continue to face and confront discrimination on a daily basis. While we have made progress as a society and a nation, there is still much more we can do. Now is the time to take responsibility in leading and championing the systemic changes necessary to move beyond a declaration and into the creation of an inclusive and equitable society for all.
Police have an obligation, and a duty to uphold the law and a responsibility to create and support safe communities for every Canadian. However, at times, we have failed in our obligations and have made decisions and purposely taken positions that have harmed the very people we are sworn to protect.
True leaders in policing must demonstrate courage, compassion, integrity, transparency, respect and inclusiveness. True leaders must also be accountable. Police agencies have not always been supportive of sexual and gender diverse communities, and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is no exception.
Our organization publicly opposed changes to the Canadian Criminal Code to decriminalize homosexuality in the late 1960s. Despite the federal government making amendments to the Criminal Code in September 1968 to decriminalize homosexuality, police agencies across Canada continued to criminalize members of sexual and gender diverse communities.
The years that followed were filled with harassment, discrimination and persecution. Police agencies targeted Canadians based solely on their sexual orientation, resulting in an increase in gross indecency and obscenity charges, imprisonment, and raids. Many people were charged under the ‘Bawdy House’ law for merely being present in a gay bar or bathhouse.
As a result of our purposeful intolerance, our own membership suffered. Numerous sworn officers and civilian employees faced discrimination, shame and job loss merely because of their sexual orientation. Many lived double lives because regardless of who you were, being “outed” meant persecution, violence, personal and economic hardships, and for some, even suicide.
We will never fully comprehend the damage our actions and decisions inflicted on countless Canadians we had a responsibility to support, protect and serve. If we truly desire to repair the harm we caused, we must be accountable for the damage we contributed to and take purposeful, public steps to repair the damage. Now is the time for reconciliation and healing.
On behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, I want to sincerely apologize for the harm we caused by not fully supporting Two-spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Transgender, and Queer Communities. We now have a better understanding of the impact that specific laws, policies and decisions had on the community and how we contributed to institutional bias, intolerance, and the violation of human rights.
We acknowledge the pain our actions have caused, the personal suffering, shame and trauma our public positions contributed to, and the deep distrust and divide that was created by the positions we took. Our decisions and actions legitimized attitudes and beliefs that were discriminatory. We take responsibility for our past wrongdoings and, on behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, I am sorry.
In recent years, there has been unprecedented progress in ensuring the rights of Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans, Transgender, and Queer Canadians. The calls for change across the country and around the world have been profound. This includes changes in the attitudes, opinion and positions within the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police membership as well.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee has helped us achieve an understanding and establish the momentum to announce the apology I share with you today. While we cannot apologize for the wrongdoings of individual police agencies, we can and we must set an example for them to follow.
Apologies are important, but they are insufficient to create the required change needed. In order to improve, and for sexual and gender diverse communities to see and feel our genuine commitment, we need to do more. In issuing this apology today, it was important to us to follow our words with action.
As such, we have created and are releasing a Two-Spirit Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans, Transgender, and Queer Equity and Inclusion toolkit of policing specific guidelines, best practices, and recommendations that will support organizations in understanding why an apology is necessary. This toolkit provides local police agencies with the tools required to initiate changes within their own organizations, the resources to begin the reconciliation process, and the support to engage with the Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans, Transgender, and Queer Communities in their own way.
We cannot do this alone. We need the support of one another if we are to move forward and we are thankful to the members of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the community who have helped us take this important first step.
Despite any progress, 68 per cent of “queer” individuals have been harassed, physically attacked or sexually harassed simply for their orientation. 30 per cent will not seek emergency medical care for fear of discrimination and are 14 times more at risk for suicide and substance abuse. It is abundantly clear that more has to be done.
It is critical for all of us in law enforcement to show our support to Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans, Transgender, and Queer members within our community and organizations, to stand together against homophobia, transphobia, and any other kind of marginalization, shaming, disrespect or hate.
Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans, Transgender, and Queer rights are human rights. Nobody should ever be persecuted simply because of who they are, and everyone should be treated fairly, with compassion and respect. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is committed to supporting you. I acknowledge our past and I am sorry for the harm we have caused. We seek the opportunity to build a relationship of respect, understanding and trust. We look forward to working with you.
December 10, 2020