‘Well Attended and a Great Success’
The Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement (AWLE) held their 11th annual conference in Truro, Nova Scotia this past October 14-17th, 2003. The Truro Police Service hosted a first class training venue that was well attended with representatives from 31 enforcement agencies across Atlantic Canada and Ontario including the RCMP, municipal forces, military police, customs, corrections, UPEI and Nova Scotia Department of Justice. Key figures present among the conference delegates included: Lisa Jackson the president of AWLE, Sergeant Amy Ramsay Executive Director the International Association of Women Police (IAWP), Sergeant Myra James the IAWP Region Eleven (Atlantic) representative, and Detective Lisa Hodgins the president of the Ontario Women in Law Enforcement.
A conference highlight was the keynote speech delivered by Daniele Sauvageau, former head coach of Canada’s National Olympic Women’s Hockey Team and current Montreal Urban Police Sergeant. Sauvageau spoke to an attentive audience of 140 women about her journey to an Olympic Gold Medal and drew parallels between that formidable task and the challenges she has faced and overcome in her policing career. In terms of leadership development she asked, “Is coaching an art or a process and what kind of skills are required?” The response to her own question included a discussion of topics such as management, administration, guidance, support, problem solving, teaching, performance issues and motivation. She noted that “we are all agents of change, but we don’t see that in ourselves as much as we should”. She encouraged the audience of law enforcement women to strive for the top by explaining that attaining excellence in performance is a human process. She stated ” we must feel capable of things we don’t think we can do…we need to get out of our comfort zone and go through the doors of opportunity”.
Other training topics covered in the three and a half-day conference included a Homicide presentation by RCMP Cst. Chris MacNaughton and an equally powerful presentation by Sergeant Isobel Anderson of the Ottawa Police Service on recent developments in the Blood Sampling Act. Professor Moira McLaughlin of Saint Thomas University provided a very interesting slide show and discussion on the uses of Forensic Anthropology, and Cst. Dean Stienburg from Halifax Regional Police provided a “jolting” display of the Taser. Lectures on Operation Pipeline, Applied Suicide Intervention skills, Direction 180, Critical Incident Stress and Mainline Needle Exchange were also on the agenda during the week. Conference delegates were also given a tour of the Nova Institute for Women. The conference followed a recently established tradition with a formal parade of delegates in dress uniform marching into the third annual Awards banquet.
Hats off to the AWLE conference committee members of Truro Police, RCMP Bible Hill, and Cpl. Sharon Sisson for a job very well done!
By Sgt. Leanne Fitch, Fredericton Police Force