CPS Interview: Cst. Stacey O’Connor

CPS Interview: Cst. Stacey O’Connor

Could you let us know a bit about yourself and your role within the Calgary Police Service?

Combined I have 15 years of service with the Calgary Police Service. Prior to joining the Service as a sworn member, I was a civilian member with the Evidence and Property Unit for approximately three years. I have been a sworn member of the Calgary Police Service for approximately twelve years.  During that time, I worked patrol in District 6, District 8 and am currently assigned to Youth at Risk Development Program (YARD).  I love my current role working with at-risk youth in the community and find it very rewarding. I enjoy working with numerous community partners who share the same goals and interests to work together to see youth and their families thrive and be successful in our community.

What inspired you to join the police service?

When I was growing up I experienced negative challenges in my community and constantly found myself mediating different scenarios at a young age. I feel that these experiences motivated me to pursue this career so I could make positive change daily.

Do you believe there are any advantages to being a female in the service?

I believe both men and women have positive traits that help them in being successful and efficient police officers. Each police officer is equipped with a unique ability that provides benefit in the policing environment. However, in my experience, I have found female police officers tend to have the benefit of communication and the ability to listen empathetically and work towards resolution when dealing with police-related matters. The advantage of having exceptional communication skills makes for the de-escalation of high-risk calls more successful, such as when working towards a resolution for arguing parties in domestic situations or neighbor disputes, and the ability to help others as they grieve through the loss of loved ones.

Is there any areas that you believe need to be worked upon to advance women’s roles in police services?

  • Police culture needs to change as very little thought was given to implementing processes and policies that would include the need to incorporate family, health, education, and other personal needs of an individual.
  • Family-friendly policies must to be integrated into policing. For generations, policing was always thought of as a 24/7 job with little room for flexibility and family. The lack of flexibility has left many officers who are parents or those left to care for elderly relatives in a problematic situation.

Overall, the Calgary Police Service is doing a great job at advancing the role of women. I also believe that police organizations need to focus on providing family-friendly policies and support, not only to women taking leave but fathers who also wish to go on parental leave and come back to the position they had with the respect and support they deserve before leaving. By implementing processes and policies that include the need to incorporate family, health, education, and other personal needs of an individual, the organization can only get better.

What is some advice you would give to other females hoping to join the police?

Policing is a fun and challenging profession. However, prepare yourself for the culture that is persistent in policing. Be the change you want to see in the organization that will help policing be a progressive and safe organization for all!

What parts or memories stand out as most meaningful to you during your time as a member of the police service?

My family, friendships in service and externally, partners, teams and people I have met in my career have been the most meaningful to me. They have supported me with any challenges whether positive or negative that I have encountered in the past and will continue that support moving forward in my personal and professional endeavours.

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