Chief Dale McFee on International Women’s Day


I will spend a good part of this International Women’s Day welcoming our latest graduating class into the Edmonton Police Service. It’s good symmetry to have these two notable events happen together because graduation day is all about possibility and potential – and when I congratulate 49 new officers, I want to believe that every single one of them – including 10 women officers – could well be standing in my place one day. I hope they all see that too.

At Edmonton Police Service today, 38% of our total employees and 23% of our sworn officers are women. These are good stats but are they good enough? I don’t know what number is good enough exactly. I do know that overall, on every measure our police service reflects our entire community more and more – growing and evolving with our community is essential to the work we do.

Still, I do think a lot on this day about what success actually looks like – both in terms of gender equality within our organization and in how we serve our community – this is what I think International Women’s Day asks of all of us.

Internally, we strive to lead a service of possibility – for the sworn and civilian members of our EPS team here is what I think success looks like. No table should feel too exclusive and no internal issue should feel too insurmountable. There is no role that should feel inaccessible and no one should have to see their own team or squad as anything less than a group of people who share your goals and help make sure you succeed, and most importantly as police, that you go home safe at the end of every shift. I am so proud to lead this organization but pride does not mean we can’t own our challenges even while we celebrate our successes.

In our community – we have to recognize the unique types of violence, exploitation and victimization that unevenly target and burden women – and we need to continue to be relentless about how we ensure we provide the safety responses required against the very intractable challenges faced by far too many. I see so much creativity and compassion in the work we do – in the efforts to get people to safety and I am so grateful for the efforts here of so many. I know we will continue to evolve and do more – because this is what our community needs of us.

As an organization, we have much to celebrate and there are challenges we will take on without fear. I know we will succeed in doing so, in no small part because of the exemplary women who are already leaders in this organization. They take on incredible challenges regardless of rank or title every day, in every part of EPS – in ways that are immeasurable. I am so grateful for the passion, the creativity and the absolute relentless energy and commitment they bring to their work every single day. Happy IWD to each and everyone of you across the Edmonton Police Service. #thankyou for what you do!

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