Empowering Women in Policing: 11 St. Clair College Students Participate In OPP's Women Initiative | St. Clair College
Tuesday, February 13, 2024
Female students in front of college

In a venture aimed at fostering gender diversity and inclusion in law enforcement, St. Clair College has collaborated with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in its Women Initiative. The program, which saw the participation of 11 Police Foundation students from St. Clair College, is designed to provide aspiring female officers with the tools, resources and support needed to pursue successful careers in policing.

Edward Marocko, Professor and Coordinator in Police Foundations and Protection, Security and Investigation at St. Clair College, emphasized the importance of this collaboration in supporting women in policing.
"The collaboration between St. Clair College and the OPP has been truly positive in supporting women in policing. By fostering a partnership that values diversity and inclusion, we have created an environment where female students feel empowered to pursue careers in law enforcement," Marocko said.

The Police Foundation program is umbrellaed by the School of Community Studies. The program strives for the inclusion of female students, by featuring specific courses designed to encourage women to pursue careers in law enforcement. These courses emphasize inclusivity, gender sensitivity, and hands-on training, preparing female students to navigate the challenges and opportunities they may encounter in their future careers.

Chair of Community Studies at St. Clair College, Biagio Lattuca, expressed his pride in St. Clair College's dedication to advancing diversity in law enforcement through partnerships with the OPP and other agencies. He emphasized the institution's primary focus on empowering and preparing female students for success, aiming to dismantle barriers and pave the way for a future where women thrive in policing.

Lauren McDonald, a Police Foundation student and participant, shared her motivation for joining the program.
"Being in the Police Foundations program, my ultimate goal is to enter into a career in law enforcement. I really enjoyed and appreciated the fact that this information session was geared towards women." McDonald said. "I felt more of a connection with the recruiters, it felt more personable and 'laid back' than a formal information session. It was really nice to hear from a woman's point of view about a career in law enforcement, and ultimately it has inspired me even more."

Sergeant Shernett Williams, Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at the OPP, highlighted the impact of the OPP's Women Initiative.
 "This partnership with educational institutions has seen some women apply to positions such as cadet and auxiliary. We have had many initiatives over the years and have hired several women. Specifically, for the 2024 initiative, we have heard from many who have attended the mentoring sessions, and the feedback was 'I learned so much about the OPP in just a few hours, and it helped me become more confident in my ability to apply'," Williams said.

The OPP is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to active non-discrimination programs. All recruitment, hiring, transfers, promotions, training and other terms and conditions of employment are based on the qualifications of the individual regardless of race, colour, ethnicity, age or any other basis prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).

Jasmeen Kaur, another student and participant, emphasized the importance of gender diversity in law enforcement.
 "I was motivated to participate because I believe in the importance of gender diversity in law enforcement. The experience has deeply impacted my career aspirations by showing me that women can excel in policing and contribute positively to their communities. It has reinforced my determination to pursue a career in law enforcement and make a difference." Kaur said.

Over the past few years, St. Clair College has seen more women enrolled in traditionally male-dominated fields. Some of these programs include Paramedic, Pre-Service Firefighter Education, Police Foundations and Protection, Security and Investigation. The support from faculty supersedes any preconceived fears women may have venturing into these fields.

President of St. Clair, Patti France endorsed the Women Initiative, highlighting the evolving landscape of gender equality in occupations.
 "Within a few years, I think it is fair to say that there will be no such thing as a 'gender-traditional' occupation because men and women will truly be judged solely on their ability to work with skill and knowledge. Our long-standing partnership with the OPP has contributed immensely to instilling that philosophy, that new reality, of equality and opportunity," France said.

The year 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of OPP's women in policing. The Initiative reflects the commitment of both the OPP and St. Clair College to promoting gender equality and empowering women in law enforcement. Through education, mentorship and support, the program is paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse future in policing.

The Police Foundation program is designed as a comprehensive two-year Ontario College Diploma. This program is available at our Windsor campus in its traditional format, alongside a unique fast-track option in Chatham.

The curriculum encompasses courses that include Psychology for Law and Justice and Ethics and Professionalism, facilitating a seamless transition and fostering a robust skill set adaptable to various professional avenues.

Graduates of the Police Foundation program emerge primed for roles spanning municipal, provincial and federal police services, in private security, and as special constables and campus police. The rigorous nature of the fast-track option demands a high degree of self-discipline and moral character, rendering graduates highly sought-after candidates in the job market.

Apply today and embark on a journey towards a fulfilling and impactful vocation in the realm of protective services.


Written by Jahphia Appleby