RCMP hope to recruit more female officers
Constable to host Women in Policing presentation
Police encounter many situations where a woman is best suited for the job. So when men make up almost 80 per cent of a police service, sometimes the people who call 911 don’t get the help they’re seeking.
Edmonton RCMP Const. Penny Gavin said she’s had numerous calls in her 12-year career where complainants specifically needed to talk to a woman.
“Mainly it’s domestic situations, where you have a female that only wants to speak to a female officer. Or situations where it’s sexual assault; they only want to speak to a female officer. So it helps if you have members at your detachment that’s able to handle those type of situations,” she said.
The RCMP set a 10-year goal in 2015 to increase the percentage of women in the service from 21.5 per cent to 30 per cent.
Gavin, who works in recruiting, is hosting a Women in Policing presentation at K Division headquarters Tuesday for women who want to become Mounties. There they can ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking men.
“A lot of females can certainly do the job; it’s just whether or not they believe in themselves to be able to do it,” Gavin said.
She said she has never felt her gender was a barrier in policing, but she attributes that to strong role models she had growing up in a small Newfoundland town where her volleyball coach, a close friend’s sister and her brother-in-law’s sister were all RCMP officers.
While Gavin wanted to be an officer since high school, her parents convinced her to go to university. She got a Bachelor of Science and became an animal nutritionist, but that didn’t stick.
“I was away on a conference when I witnessed an 87-year-old lady being mugged by a little punk. And when I got back to work I was like, you know what, I think I’d like to try out,” she said.
“I had three really good, strong female influences when I was growing up that were already RCMP officers. So I knew it was very doable if I had met the requirements.”
edmonton rCMP will hold a presentation to encourage more women to become Mounties.