By Mo Cranker on March 20, 2017.
The Medicine Hat Police Service held its first every Women in Policing conference Saturday, in the hopes of attracting more female police officers.
The day consisted of multiple presentations and demonstrations by various members of the MHPS, as well as officers from Calgary and Lethbridge. The hour-long group presentations touched on subjects such as balancing work and life, physical preparation for the A-PREP police test and stereotypes in the workforce.
“We’ve had this event in the works for a while now, and the goal is to create more diversity in the workforce,” said MHPS Chief Andy McGrogan. “We know our female employees are woefully low, so we’re hoping holding events like this can change that.”
McGrogan says having more women will allow the MHPS to better serve the community.
“We want to more accurately represent the community we serve in, which is about half male and half female,” he said. “Our staff only has nine per cent females on it, that just isn’t good enough and we want to change that — we’re not representing our community to the best of our ability.”
With just nine per cent of its force being women, McGrogan says women can really add something more to the MHPS.
“While I may be generalizing here, women often have great communications skills, and I would even say they are better at it than males are,” he said. “We want to create comfort for every situation and diversity is the key to that.”
The day also featured six-time Olympic medalist Cindy Klassen, who recently traded in her speed skates to become a police officer with the Calgary Police Service. Klassen says she just wanted to help contribute to the MHPS’s recruitment of women.
“Today has been really great, and I decided to make the trip just in case I could add to what the Medicine Hat Police are trying to do here,” she said. “I had to make the transition from athlete to police officer, and I had a lot of doubts, even on the physical side, so I wanted to come talk to these women and answer any questions they may have had.”
Klassen says she encourages anyone sitting on the fence about joining the police force to attend an event like this to learn more about it.
“It can be a very intimidating job, so I don’t blame anyone for being scared or unsure about policing,” she said. “Being an officer now, I can see why having both men and women is so important, and having that diversity is important.”
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