DRPS hosts first Women's Symposium

Renée Francoeur
October 23, 2017
Sgt. Finateri makes a presentation about the drug squad on Oct. 21, 2017 in Whitby, Ont.
Sgt. Finateri makes a presentation about the drug squad on Oct. 21, 2017 in Whitby, Ont. Photos: R. Francoeur
Only 21 per cent of Canadian police officers were women in 2016, reports Stats Canada.

Durham Regional Police Service is on a mission to change those numbers up, hosting its first Women’s Symposium in Whitby, Ont., on October 21, 2017, to assist females interested in becoming a police officer.

About 90 women of all ages participated in the daylong event, learning about the drug squad and the steps it takes to become a police officer. There was also a mock interview session to prepare for a successful application and a panel presentation where the attendees could ask questions.

Panel questions centred on “how old is too old to apply,” technology, work/life balance tips, managing negative perceptions about police and why DRPS is a promising career choice.

“The leadership in this service is extremely progressive,” said Insp. Cathy Bawden. “We’re policing in an ever-changing environment; the world is not linear any more.”

Const. Paige Coulouras, who was hired earlier this year, touched on the difficulties in working in a male-dominated field and Sgt. Stef Finateri detailed how she de-stresses by hitting the gym and talking things out, as well as how she chooses to “educate people” when confronted with those with negative ideas about policing.

“I’ve missed birthdays and Christmas dinners but you make up for it,” added Const. Kristy Frech, speaking to busy schedules and shift work questions. “It’s a lifestyle my family has all adapted to and your service is your family, too. Your sergeants really care about you and they will work to ensure you have a great work/life balance.”

Everyone on the panel was nodding when Auxillary Const. Amanda Jackson, who is currently undergoing her application to become a police officer, mentioned the word “passion.”

“Serving the community doesn’t feel like work when it’s your passion,” she told the crowd. “That’s how you know this is right for you.”

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