As part of our blog posts for IAWP 2018, we are hosting a series of interviews with women in policing.
Our first interview is a member of the Calgary Police Service, Sergeant Daniela Seravalli.
Sergeant Seravalli has been a member of the Calgary Police service for 20 years. Her career began as a front line officer and as part of the investigative section for Break and Enter Detail. She spent time teaching other officers through the YCJA then in Court Disclosure, before returning to frontline policing in District 3. Sgt. Seravalli later spent 4 years in the service’s Victims Assistance Unit, which she states helped enhance her ability to deal effectively with victims of crime and tragedy. Other areas of work include being a Community Liaison Officer, which deals directly with community concerns, and the Multi-Agency School Support Team (MASST) which mentors youth at risk between the ages of 5-12 where Dani worked with a social worker to develop strategies to build resiliency in youth and provide development opportunities for them.
In 2014, she applied for a promotion to the rank of Sergeant and was successful. After completing a 3-month temporary position at the Real-Time Operation Centre (RTOC) before being redeployed to District 1 to serve as an operational Sergeant, she went onto become a team Sergeant when the district piloted the team policing model.
In 2017, Sgt. Seravalli applied to the School Resource Unit and was successful in obtaining the high school portfolio, where she supervises 17 Constables working in Calgary schools.
In her personal life, Sgt. Seravalli is married and raises two children, aged 11 and 14, who are busy with school and sports. When off duty, she is a busy mom who enjoys taking time to read, be active, and spend time with friends and family.
What inspired you to become a police officer?
When I was in junior high, I took an aptitude test, which was designed to identify what type of career I would best be suited for. The two options that resulted were police officer and accountant. Accounting didn’t sound so cool to a 14-year-old kid. Plus, I grew up in a rural northern community and fancied myself as a having common sense and fortitude to be well equipped to be a police officer. When I graduated from high school, I moved away from my family to the next province to attend post-secondary schooling, away from my safe and familiar influences. When I had to figure out what my major/minor was, I gravitated towards sociology/criminology and obtained my degree.
Do you have advice to females seeking a career in police work?
Be realistic with yourself and what this job is. This job is a paramilitary organization where rules and policies dictate most of our responsibilities. Be aware that you are a female coming into a male-dominated role, that is the reality of this career. Be prepared for changes in personality and perspective, as you will be exposed to incidents that do not make sense, as hard as we try to rationalize them out. Be true to yourself and do not compromise your values or ethics, personally or professionally. And always ask for help when you need it.
Do you have any notable Memories?
Getting promoted; being one of the only female operational Sergeants when I got promoted and went back to the street; seeing the resiliency in humankind when tragedy hits; working with youth in a mentorship role.
Supporting one of my officers when his daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia; supporting him with time off, hospital and home visits and financial donations to support his family.
Playing volleyball in the World Police and Fire Games in New York 2011