Watch above: Saskatoon police encourage more female participation in service
SASKATOON – Ten new recruits were sworn in as constables with the Saskatoon Police Service at a ceremony on Monday afternoon.
Eight are male, two are female. It’s not the ratio the police chief is aiming for.
“Our goal is to have about 44 per cent female and we’ve given our goal to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission so they can see that we are trying to move to diversity,” said police Chief Clive Weighill.
Saskatoon is leading the province among large cities for the percentage of female members. Twenty-eight per cent of employees are female in Saskatoon. Regina is not far behind at 25 per cent but Prince Albert lags considerably with only 13 per cent of the members women.
Women are also under-represented in the RCMP. The first female officer was sworn in in 1974 and to date just 21 per cent of regular members are female.
According to Saskatoon police, the numbers are not a reflection of prejudice.
“It’s a little harder recruiting that many female applicants because not all females want to be police officers,” said Weighill.
Angela McEwen, 22, is one of the two women sworn-in on Monday.
“I feel like I’m prepared and I’m ready to prove myself so we’ll see what happens,” McEwen said, anxiously awaiting 20 weeks of recruit training at Saskatchewan Police College in Regina.
Although she admits she may not have the muscle that men have, women bring added value.
“Females are often better communicators and are often really good at diffusing situations verbally,” said McEwen.
An applicant’s gender holds no weight in successful recruitment. Each person must pass the entrance exam, physical testing, a psychological interview, a panel interview, a background check and a polygraph test.
Weighill also points out a need to recruit more First Nations and Métis people, with hopes of having the service be more representative of the general population.
To attract a greater diversity of applicants, the Saskatoon Police Service holds monthly recruitment information sessions, a mentorship program and advertises outside the province.