International Association of Women Police – Officer of the Year, 2021 – Constable Sarah Bass, RCMP

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Constable Sarah Bass, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada

Constable Sarah Bass has seven years’ service with the RCMP and is currently assigned as a general duty officer at the Whitbourne Detachment, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Constable Bass is an exemplary officer who strives for excellence in everything she does. She has been the lead impaired investigator at the detachment for several years, being asked on numerous occasions to assist the RCMP General Investigative Section with complicated interviews and is a skilled child interviewer, a particularly challenging task that she handles professionally and compassionately. She has investigated complex fraud, importing prohibited weapons and historical sexual assault files. Perhaps her most difficult and emotional investigation involved a four- person fatal collision where a mother, husband and child were killed in one vehicle and another police officer’s daughter was killed in the other vehicle. Constable Bass was working alone and coordinated a multifaceted response to this tragic incident.

Constable Bass is always ready to step up and take a leadership role. This year, as her detachment was dealing with a large amount of mental health-related calls, she noticed a lack of public education/information materials. In her own time, she consulted subject matter experts and created a full presentation to provide police officers with information and education on the topic. This presentation has subsequently been approved for use by the RCMP for all its officers. When COVID-19 restrictions started in 2020, Constable Bass developed a presentation regarding the ‘Buddy System’, a way for officers to check on one another and come together to discuss their mental health. The presentation was sent out to all regular officers.

Constable Bass is a natural mentor and has a unique ability to pass on her learning to others. When she attends training, she in turn coaches other members in the area or skill she has learned. She is a top-notch interviewer and often assists other members with interviews, interview plans and mentoring them to conduct better interviews.

Constable Bass embraces being actively involved in her community, especially with youth. In addition to bringing a resolution to a bullying complaint, she created a presentation for students at the school regarding bullying and cyberbullying that is now being used by officers from other detachments in Newfoundland and Labrador. She organizes and participates in community and school events that run the gamut from Halloween safety talks for elementary students to recruiting the town mayor and fire department to raise money for families-in-need during the holiday season.

Constable Bass’ initiative, professionalism, leadership, and dedication demonstrates her commitment to serve her community, her colleagues and the policing community at-large.

IAWP President Deborah Friedl, “The IAWP is so pleased to recognize the outstanding work of our colleagues in law enforcement. Their stories exemplify that with the right tools, training and opportunity, women excel in policing and keep our communities safer.”

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