Markham, ON - Sgt. Edith Turner of the Winnipeg Police Service has been selected to receive this year's 's Blue Line Police Leadership Award to recognize her outstanding commitment both to the people of Winnipeg and the entire Province of Manitoba.
Through her many years of dedicated service as a member of the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), Turner has continuously striven to strengthen the relationships between the service and the aboriginal community. She has also shared her skills with officers locally, nationally and internationally.
Turner dedicates her personal time to volunteer work in her home community of Misipawisitik Cree Nation and in Winnipeg to improve the well-being of aboriginal people throughout Manitoba.
During her 21-year career as a police officer, Turner has worked in many areas of including uniform operations, community relations aboriginal & diversity unit and sections investigating organized crime, drugs and gangs.
Early in her career, Turner was recognized as a skilful undercover operative and in joint task force operations. Her undercover work was critical as she infiltrated aboriginal street gangs in Manitoba, leading to numerous convictions during several high profile investigations.
Turner's skills as an undercover operative took her to southern Ontario to partner with the Criminal Intelligence Service of Ontario (CISO). During this ground-breaking, multi-agency and inter-provincial covert undercover operation, she became the first female police officer in Canada to be embedded in a prison. During this four-day harrowing operation, Turner gathered vital evidence that led to the successful prosecution of a female offender, resulting in a second degree murder conviction.
During the court proceedings, Provincial Judge R. Harris commended her for her creativity in developing a system of doodle notes to aid in her testimony. This doodle system is now highlighted in undercover courses across Canada and helps officers document their covert experiences for court purposes. Turner was recognized by CISO Director Det. Insp. Al Bush and Hamilton Police Service Chief Brian Mullan for her exemplary work.
After her work in the operation, Turner was invited to assist in training aboriginal operatives in conjunction with the Canadian Police College, focusing on disrupting organized crime activities in the aboriginal community. Turner has been instrumental in mentoring many aboriginal police officers from across Canada, sharing her unique perspective and enhancing their skill sets. This in turn enables them to share their knowledge with the next generation of police officers in their respective jurisdictions.
Through her continued leadership, Turner is a mentor and role model for many police officers within the WPS and has been involved in training operatives for more than a decade. She has also been active within the WPS Women's Network mentoring officers and has lectured on her experiences in undercover operations throughout Canada.
Turner shared her harrowing undercover operation with more than 700 police officers from 55 countries at the International Association of Women Police Training Conference in Newfoundland. Her presentation was one of the most well attended and many officers gained vital information for their organizations, further expanding Turner's leadership and mentorship across the world.
As a child of residential school survivors, Turner understands the negative impact of the systematic destruction of many aboriginal families. As a police officer, she has strived to provide youth with positive role models. Toward this end Turner has worked on numerous steering committees.
Turner is a member of the board directors of Building Urban Industries for Local Development. This is a provincial initiative focusing on training and skill development for underemployed persons and youth involved in gangs.
Prior to the establishment of the Manitoba Integrated Task Force for Murder & Missing Women community leaders sought out Turner as a key person to bring all sides together. Turner continues to reach out to aboriginal leaders to bridge the gap, assisting task force investigators.
In 2009, Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs recognized Turner's work in building relationships and her long term commitment to the citizens in northern Manitoba and western Canada.
Throughout her career Turner has recognized the need to develop stronger relationship between police and the aboriginal community. She turned her knowledge about long standing treaty issues into an opportunity to become involved with the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.
Assembly of First Nations Chief Sean Atleo honoured Turner at the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak National Assembly in 2010 for her dedication in mentoring aboriginal youth, providing positive role models and breaking through employment barriers in her work with the Winnipeg Diversity Unit.
Turner has received many awards recognizing her years of dedication and exceptional work in strengthening relationships between the WPS and the aboriginal community, including: Manitoba Excellence in Law Enforcement Award in 2011, the WPS James Toal Award of Excellence and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
She was a finalist in the Manitoba YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Leadership Category and was nominated for a leadership award with the International Association of Women Police in 2013.