Cal­gary to host in­ter­na­tional women in polic­ing con­fer­ence

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - YOLANDE COLE

Cal­gary will host hun­dreds of del­e­gates from around the world next week for the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Women Po­lice con­fer­ence.

Or­ga­niz­ers of this year’s event, which takes place at the BMO Cen­tre from Aug. 26 to 30, say the theme of the five-day con­fer­ence is “Lead­ing Change.” More than 650 del­e­gates from 35 coun­tries will at­tend the gath­er­ing.

Del­e­gates will hear from speak­ers from po­lice ser­vices in coun­tries such as Nor­way, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Ghana, Aus­tralia and New Zealand, and top­ics on the agenda in­clude re­spect, bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment, di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion, re­cruit­ing and em­ployee re­ten­tion, and or­ga­ni­za­tional change.

The con­fer­ence will also fea­ture key­note speak­ers Amanda Lind­hout, Shel­don Kennedy, Chief Jennifer Evans of the Peel Re­gional Po­lice and Cana­dian Olympic gold medal­list Caro­line Ouel­lette.

Con­fer­ence co-direc­tors de­scribed the in­ter­na­tional as­so­ci­a­tion as “a leader in em­pow­er­ing and sup­port­ing women in law en­force­ment.”

“We look for­ward to en­gag­ing in im­por­tant dis­cus­sion and shar­ing the in­for­ma­tion we learn with the rest of the Ser­vice,” Cal­gary po­lice staff sergeants Sueanne Ford and Bev Voros said in a news re­lease Thurs­day.

Ac­cord­ing to Cal­gary po­lice, the event has been or­ga­nized dur­ing the past year by a com­mit­tee of vol­un­teers who are mem­bers of the Cal­gary Po­lice Ser­vice.

Some of the lo­cal speak­ers sched­uled are Cal­gary po­lice con­sta­ble and former speed­skater Cindy Klassen, Const. Tad Milmine, and Linda Crock­ett and Pat Fer­ris of the Al­berta Bul­ly­ing Re­search, Re­sources and Re­cov­ery Cen­tre.

Former Cal­gary po­lice of­fi­cer Jen Mag­nus will lead a ses­sion on trauma-in­formed in­ter­view­ing.

Mag­nus an­nounced her res­ig­na­tion at a po­lice com­mis­sion meet­ing last year, cit­ing bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment in the work­place. She now runs a con­sult­ing firm on work­place is­sues re­lated to the safety of em­ploy­ees.

Mag­nus said be­fore she left the ser­vice, she worked to bring the con­fer­ence to Cal­gary and helped to choose some of the top­ics high­lighted at the event.

“I didn’t want us to shy away from bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment in the po­lice,” she said.

“I think it is good be­cause … a lot of po­lice or­ga­ni­za­tions tend to hide that. They don’t want it out in the open, they don’t want it spo­ken about, and I think with RCMP, Water­loo and the Cal­gary po­lice it’s im­por­tant that we talk about the ele­phant in the room.”

This is the first time the in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence, now in its 56th year, will be held in Cal­gary.

The In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Women Po­lice was es­tab­lished in Los An­ge­les in 1915 with the aim of pro­vid­ing pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, men­tor­ing and train­ing for fe­male law en­force­ment of­fi­cers. The or­ga­ni­za­tion has mem­bers in more than 60 coun­tries.

The con­fer­ence will launch with a pa­rade start­ing out­side city hall on Sun­day at 10:30 a.m.

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