Welcome to another year of AWLE. It has been an incredible year with many changes and certainly many challenges. Due to the global impact of COVID-19, AWLE has had to change its business practice. The need to hold Board meetings and conduct business meant engaging various digital mediums in an effort to stay connected. The opening of the Atlantic bubble allowed the AWLE Board to host an in person meeting in September. We extend a heartfelt thank you to RCMP B Division for providing the space and to Asst. Commissioner Parsons for his hospitality. An in person meeting was exceptionally important this year, as it was the first opportunity to introduce the newest Board members to AWLE matters that required extensive discussion, evaluation, input and decision-making. Virtual meetings are great, however, an opportunity to set aside a full day to deal with AWLE business was certainly warranted.
One of the most disheartening and difficult decisions we had to make in 2020 was the decision to postpone the annual conference that was scheduled to take place in Charlottetown, PEI in November 2020. Charlottetown will now host the conference in October 2021 and planning has resumed with hopes that we can proceed with the conference. The speakers that we secured for Conference 2020 were very understanding and most have graciously committed to remain on our speaker list for the 2021 dates. As more planning details become available, we will post them on the AWLE website and share via Twitter.
Another impact of COVID was our inability to bring you the Notebook in 2020. In the early months of the pandemic response, with industry and business closures we were unable to access a printing company. In an effort to keep the membership informed we shared AWLE news via Facebook and via Twitter during the year. We are now very pleased to be in a position to make the Notebook available to our membership and readership.
One of the most rewarding accomplishments in 2020 was the ability to open nominations and offer the annual AWLE Awards albeit in a much different format. Constable Sarah Bass, RCMP B Division was named AWLE Officer of the Year 2020. Congratulations to all of our Award winners!! As you peruse the Notebook please read the article detailing the reasons why these amazing officers won the award in their respective category. As the uncertainty and devastation of COVID 19 created unsettlement throughout the Atlantic Region, it was definitely a pleasure to recognize the 2020 award winners.
There were other positive initiatives resulting from the pandemic and the need to be resourceful in upholding the AWLE Mission and Vision for the benefit of the membership. In an effort to offer professional development despite having to cancel the conference, we engaged in discussions with OWLE, BCWLE, AXON and most recently AWIPS to plan training. Those collaborations resulted in the first ever, cross Canada virtual seminar which took place on January 28, 2021 and featured a keynote from Chief Carmen Best, Retired. Our second cross Canada virtual seminar took place on April 8, 2021 and featured a keynote from Jason Schechterle, former Phoenix Police, and subject of Burning Shield. The sisters across Canada partnership with support from AXON Canada has been tremendously successful with several hundred of our members tuning in to our broadcasts.
Our partnership with AWIPS, BCWLE and OWLE resulted in the creation of a mentorship program called Wisdom Web. The program, offers our members an opportunity to connect with a mentor who has expertise in a declared field. The mentor list is available and accessible on the member’s only side of our new website. Wisdom Web is initially being offered as an informal program with the hope it will become a more formal program in future. I encourage you to review the list and connect with a mentor or consider offering yourself as a mentor. This program can be a great networking opportunity for the members who are seeking promotional or professional development opportunities. For program details or questions, connect with Vice President April Gavel or the Chair of Wisdom Web, Carolyn Nichols.
The AWLE Board recognized the need to update its current website and after much discussion, we engaged Janet Murphy to collaborate with us and bring to life our vision of a modern, interactive website. The website launched on March 19, 2021 and offers improved features such as online membership, a member’s only portal and much more. If you haven’t done so yet, check us out at www.awle.org
We are seeking a host for AWLE 2022; please consider hosting our annual conference. If you would like some information regarding the expectations of taking on a conference, please reach out to our Media Relations/Conference Coordinator, Constable Louanne McQuaid at firstname.lastname@example.org
On behalf of AWLE, we hope that 2020, although difficult, has given our members more positives than negatives. We appreciate your support throughout this past year and look forward to a better 2021.
Sharon B. Warren
Follow me on Twitter @AWLEPresident