September 28, 2014 5:31 pm
Updated: September 29, 2014 8:02 am

Women police officers meet in Winnipeg, take part in memorial service

Officers remember others killed in the line of duty at a memorial Sunday.

Ashley Carter/Global News

WINNIPEG – Over 600 female police delegates gathered in Winnipeg for a conference took part in a memorial service for fallen officers Sunday.

More than 600 female police delegates gathered in Winnipeg from more than 50 countries around the world, including Indonesia, Egypt, Peru and Albania.

“To be in an environment like this is once in a lifetime,” said Tara Oudansingh, a special reserve officer from Trinidad and Tobago.

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Winnipeg is host to the 52nd annual International Association of Women in Police conference, which kicked off Sunday at the legislature.

“Women in police a long time ago, there was very few of us, so to see so many here from different nations is absolutely fantastic,” said Const. Nikki Holland of South Wales Police.

The conference will offer training seminars focused on empowering female police officers.

“People have come here from all over the world to take part in various training that centres around human rights, centred on human trafficking and crimes against children,” said conference director Sgt. Sandra Martin, of the Winnipeg Police Service.

“Our message is if you can’t safeguard the women in police, how on earth can you safeguard women in the community?” said Jane Townsley, president of the International Association of Women Police.

It’s an ongoing battle in some countries, along with gender discrimination.

“In my country, it’s very difficult because there is discrimination, but we are improving,” said Sheriff Veronica Aguilar from Peru.

Fifteen percent of the Winnipeg Police Service is made up of female officers, many of whom paid their respects Sunday at the legislature along with the hundreds of conference members and male officers at a memorial service to honour Manitoba police and peace officers killed in the line of duty.

Federal and provincial correction officers, RCMP and members of the Winnipeg Police Service remembered their fallen comrades.

“It is important for us to come out and remember those who have paid the ultimate price because at any day any of our officers on the streets could be called to pay that price so we can never forget them,” said Winnipeg Chief Devon Clunis.

Winnipeg will host the delegates until Thursday, when the Women in Police conference ends.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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