Belleville Police Service is hoping to inspire women in the community to consider careers in policing.
The third annual Women in Policing event will take place Thursday, Nov. 16 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Sidney Street station. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and interact with officers, view and use equipment, learn about the hiring process and learn from officers representing various units.
Inspector Sheri Meeks is a key organizer of the session. She explains that the initial Women in Policing events were so successful they decided to hold it annually. The goal is to reach out to more women and try and get their perspectives represented in policing.
“Especially when you’re serving a community in a public service type of a job or a career, it’s important to have a diverse set of perspectives at the table to represent the community that you are actually working for,” Meeks says.
Belleville Police Service is taking part of a global initiative called 30 by 30, which challenges police forces world wide to reach 30 per cent female officers by 2030.
Meeks notes that when she started in policing 28 years ago, she was one of very few women police officers.
“The national average when I started was about 15 per cent. Now we’re roughly at about 21 to 22 per cent nationally, and our service alone is at 21per cent. So we’re doing really, really well. We’ve come a long way.”
All women age 16 and up are invited to attend the Nov. 16 event.
“It’s a very diverse age group, actually,” Meeks says. “We’ve had [16-year-olds] in the past, and then we’ve also had older females that are potentially looking at a career change. They’d never really thought about it before and now are looking for more information.
Meeks’ advice to women who are thinking of a career in policing:
“Take any advantage that’s offered, like this event. There was nothing like this when I first started out. There was no Google. So take all the opportunities you can to speak to female police officers that are actually in the job to obtain more information. That’s going to give you a really good idea of whether it’s something you want to pursue further.”
For more information on the event, visit its page on the Belleville Police Service website.