The Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement 27th (AWLE) annual training conference was held in St John’s Newfoundland, from October 15-18, 2019. It was a tremendous success with over 200 delegates. The conference was co-hosted by RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. The Co-Chairs were RNC Constable Tammy Madden and RCMP Corporal Lesley Devereaux. The annual AWLE conference has been held since 1992 as a forum where law enforcement personnel avail of professional development and inter-agency networking opportunities.
The theme of this year’s conference was Supporting Each Other – Shaping Our Communities. A robust and diverse conference agenda was planned, with training sessions focused on areas including leadership, internet child exploitation, human trafficking, undercover operations and wellness. Glenda Power started with an Icebreaker amongst the delegates which got everyone up and out of their chairs. Glenda has the gift to communicate with people and also get people involved. Anne Marie Hagan shared her Journey from Murder to Forgiveness. Anne Marie continues to motive people with her inspirational story.
Leanne Fitch, who recently retired from Fredericton Police Force shared her story “Forged in Fire”. Leanne has been a leader within the AWLE and continues to share her experiences to new members of the AWLE. Roger Brown, the new Police Chief of Fredericton Police Force shared his incredible story of life after the Moncton Shooting. His presentation “In the Unlikely Event” saw that if you don’t fix your mask first then you wont be able to help anyone else. Other presentations included Elaine Reid a Crown in St John’s, Terry Follett with RNC’s ICE Unit, Mike O’Neil with “How you define your health.” Lance Valcour with Axon shared his experience with the new technology that Axon has to offer.
The highlight of the week was the Awards banquet which was hosted by Stephanie Hynes, with delegates and dignitaries from Municipal Police Forces across the Maritimes, RCMP, CBSA, Corrections, Parks, Sheriffs, Conservation Officers, and members from Memorial University Security. There was also representation from Hamilton City Police, Niagara Police, York Regional, Halton Police Service and Toronto City Police. The following awards were presented during the evening:
Excellence in Performance
Detective Constable Sue Mitchell has been a member of Halifax Regional Police since October 2007, where she has held a variety of positions. Currently assigned to the Sexual Assault Investigation Team within the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division, Detective Constable Mitchell is relied upon to take on a large case load of files, including some of the more complex and significant investigations. As the lead investigator in a number of sexual assaults involving a male employee of a local university, Sue conducted very thorough and meticulous investigations while at the same time staying in constant contact with the victims to provide reassurance and support. Sue’s dedication to the files, both professionally toward the investigation and personally toward the first victim who came forward and her family, led to a conviction for the accused, two additional victims coming forward because of the significant media attention surrounding this investigation, as well a previous file involving the accused being re-opened. Sue’s investigative skills, dedication and perhaps most importantly, compassion for victims make her an exemplary investigator.
Corporal Laura Purchase is currently posted to the Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She has been a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police since 2002 and possesses a vast background in many facets of policing duties. Her current position is as supervisor of a team that investigates serious and organized crime groups operating on the inter-provincial and transnational level. With a background in investigating financial crimes, Corporal Purchase has implemented an effective investigative approach that focuses on working the financial crimes associated to the target group and making connections that link one criminal to one another. Corporal Purchase has led the Federal team in this domain using her leadership skills. She has been a positive role model for others and has mentored many in the use of these techniques to disrupt and tackle organized crime. She sought out opportunities to keep her skills fresh and volunteered to teach and facilitate on national and inter-national courses. She purposefully remained plugged in to agencies that retained investigated financial crimes and offered to assist in manners that were unique.
Based on her mentoring of others, her expertise in the overall area, she became the only member in Newfoundland with expertise in the area of financial crime related to complex criminal organizations. In fact, Corporal Purchase is the only court appointed expert in the entire Atlantic Region, and one of only a few across the country. Corporal Purchase was assigned a lead role within the investigative team for a recent organized crime and drug conspiracy investigation. She was responsible for overseeing the investigation as it related to the financial crimes being facilitated by the group. At the time, the investigative unit was inexperienced in the area of proceeds of crime and money laundering investigations and her knowledge, skills and expertise would play a key part in ensuring a successful cross-jurisdictional investigation. Corporal
Purchase has distinguished herself and has advanced the mission of the RCMP through her contributions.
Constable Lorilee (Lori) Morash is currently posted to the Colchester District RCMP – Bible Hill Detachment where she has served as a School Resource Officer since 2015. As the School Resource Officer, her job is primarily to work in partnership with the local schools to ensure a positive relationship with the students while providing support to school staff and administration. This involves organizing “Code Blue” drills, presentations to students of all ages on drugs/alcohol, consent and healthy relationships, road safety, the legal system, etc. Lori participates in back to school orientation nights and does presentations in the evenings to parents to educate them on a variety of topics different topics including internet safety and bullying to name just a few. Part of the SRO role is to investigate all criminal code offences that occur within the schools. These files often involve the possession and use of drugs, assaults or sharing of intimate images. This requires Lori to be aware of current trends with youth as well as maintain a strong working knowledge of legislation, policies involving policing and youth, as well as alternative measures available within the justice system.
Lori consistently goes above and beyond in her role. She loves being involved with her students; she organizes fun events for members to participate with students and can often be found at intramural events – playing in uniform. She stops in to have lunch with the elementary students to give them a chance to see her police cruiser and speak freely with her. She initiates programs to address need in the schools and community such as donations of school supplies, Adopt-a- Library and a Christmas Giving campaign for families in need. Lori is a hard-working mother of three young women and grandmother to two beautiful grandchildren. Her home is always open to anyone and everyone. She has a soft spot for the “lost cause” and she has offered a place of refuge in her home to young people who have needed a warm bed and a full belly while they figured a few things out – all the while ensuring mom or dad that their kids were being cared for and safe.
Constable Chelsey Guinchard has been a member of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for 14 years. She is currently assigned to the Major Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Division and previously spent 5 ½ years working in the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit . Chelsey leads by example through her tenacity and high work ethic; bringing all her skills and experience to each investigation. She continuously acts as an important mentor to her fellow officers, to civilian staff, community members as well as to stakeholders. As one of the more senior officers in her unit, she often takes time out of her day to assists her colleagues with investigative plans, interviews and presenting evidence in court and is a positive role model and mentor for new officers. She was the field trainer for the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit and has provided training to new recruits, patrol officers, and to outside agencies, as it relates to investigating child abuse.
Chelsey is an inspiring role model to other female officers within the RNC by always demonstrating initiative, professionalism, leadership and dedication throughout her work as a police officer. As a mother of three, she shows other female officers that a balance can be achieved between being a mother and a strong effective police officer and as a role model. Chelsey’s co-workers and members of the public heavily rely on her knowledge, compassion, patience and professionalism when assisting with often difficult and complicated situations.
Officer of the Year
Constable Ann-Marie Gallop has served with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for over 17- years in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and British Columbia. Constable Gallop has been posted at the Bay St. George District, Stephenville Detachment since July 2018. She is a top notch investigator and very methodical in respect to her investigations. Due to Ann-Marie’s outstanding performance and natural leadership abilities, she has been chosen to act in a supervisor role in both official and unofficial capacities. She consistently provides competent investigational guidance and direction to team members and remains open to those around her, while communicating realistic expectations. She naturally leads by example, so much so that new and seasoned members alike gravitate towards her with questions and seeking her guidance.
She is especially looked upon as a role model and leader by the other female members within the detachment, all of whom are junior to her, and is always there to provide guidance whether that be during or off shift. Anne-Marie has been part of a complete Leadership change within the detachment level in the last year and a half. Her upbeat and cheerful personality, enthusiasm for police work and genuine caring personality naturally uplifts the atmosphere of other detachment members. She regularly organizes team building exercises for her team and as well as the detachment, while also incorporating the member’s families.
All of these activities help contribute to a healthy, positive, well balanced workplace. Anne- Marie is the detachment’s liaison with Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network due to her knowledge, experience and approachable demeanor. As an indigenous woman who happens to have roots in this area, she is looked up to by many of the local residents. Anne-Marie is also activity involved in our local school council as a representative and works closely with other council members as she brings her wealth of experience to help create a culture of sharing, communicating and dealing with issues and/or challenges that may arise. Anne Marie’s personal motivation, excellent teamwork, leadership, and volunteerism has fostered positive police relations with our youth, our indigenous communities and other policing agencies on a local and national level. Her exemplary job performance demonstrates no only her dedication to the RCMP but more importantly to the public in which she serves.
Constable Lindsay Dillon, Constable Nadia Churchill and Malin Enström form the dedicated Royal Newfoundland Intimate Partner Violence Unit. This team has distinguished itself by working with a person-centered approach to reaching victims and survivors of Intimate Partner Violence through engagement and building trust. The Unit excels at establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships with community partners. Together they are helping to eradicate barriers for people experiencing Intimate Partner Violence through implementing innovative initiatives.
The unit also builds capacity amongst officers and community stakeholders through developing and delivering training focused on victim safety and sensitivity. The unit has been instrumental in establishing a coordinated and standardized victim-centered police response to Intimate Partner Violence cases. The trust that is being built by the Unit throughout the community helps build public confidence in the police overall and extends to the perception of other police officers in their daily work. Constable Lindsay Dillon, Constable Nadia Churchill and Ms. Malin Enström truly embody the RNC commitment to building safe and healthy communities.
Congratulations to all the award recipients who are selected by an independent committee based on nominations submitted.
In addition to the professional training and the awards presentation, delegates participated in a fun night at the RCMP Headquarters. This gives delegates the opportunity to network and meet new people they haven’t met before outside the training days. As well, at each conference a donation is made to the charity of choice of the conference committee; this year’s recipient was the Newfoundland’s LETR with approximately $2500 being raised.
Congratulations and thank you for a job well done by the 2019 conference planning committee.
Cst Louanne McQuaid
Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement