According to Stats Canada, women comprised 20 percent of all police officers in Canada across all positions and ranks in 2013. Research suggests that a complex range of factors contribute to women’s low levels of participation: recruitment and retention practices, family and work-life balance issues, and gender-based harassment and violence within policing organizations.
Join faculty hosts Dr. Irwin Cohen and Dr. Amy Prevost and guest panelists at an evening to bring together alumni, faculty and students to share their experiences and learn from one another about careers in policing for women and the fight for gender equality in the RCMP.
Thurs, Nov 19
5:30pm to 7:00 pm
Student Union Building, Great Hall (South), Abbotsford campus
About Dr. Irwin Cohen: Irwin M. Cohen has been a faculty member of criminology and criminal justice in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia since 2003, the Director of the School from 2010 to 2013, and is currently the RCMP Research Chair for Crime Reduction and the Director of the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research. Irwin received his Ph.D. from Simon Fraser University. Dr. Cohen has also published 1 book, 38 scholarly articles and book chapters, 108 reports, and delivered 113 conference papers and workshops on a wide range of topics including policing, terrorism, youth justice, public policy, and public safety.
About Dr. Amy Prevost: Dr. Prevost is the Director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Dr. Prevost received her PhD from Simon Fraser University for her work on violence and aggression among young offenders in custody. Amy teaches courses related to mental health, personality disorders, and crime. She is also a Research Assistant with the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research. Her main research interests are in the area of children’s rights, children development, juvenile justice and social policy, at-risk youth, and mental health and criminal justice. Amy is currently a member of the Matsqui Institution Citizen Advisory Committee.
Alumnae & Guest Panelists:
Stephanie Ashton – Stephanie Ashton has been a police officer for 19 years. She began her career in Coquitlam where she took an interest in Youth Justice and Sex Crimes. She also worked on the Missing Women’s Task Force, created and ran a Domestic Violence and Mental Health Investigation Team in Richmond, worked for National Recruiting and is currently the Media Relations Officer for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. Ashton was a journalist prior to joining the RCMP, obtaining a diploma from BCIT, she received her Bachelor of General Studies from UFV, followed by her Master’s degree. She is a mother of two boys and is currently a member of the Faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Ashton is one of the first students at UFV to complete both her undergrad and graduate degrees. She continues to champion issues related to Gender Based Violence and Women in policing.
Jane Hall – Jane is retired from the RCMP, after having served 21 years. Jane worked in a variety of roles at North Vancouver, Surrey and Langley Detachment as well as E Division Headquarters in Vancouver. She worked on General Duties, Break and Enter detail, General Investigations, Customs and Excise and left the force in 1998 as the training NCO for Surrey Detachment. She was the first to write a book about female members of the RCMP in 2007. Titled The Red Wall; a Woman in the RCMP, is an eye witness account of the impact of social, political and legal influence on the RCMP over a twenty year period (1977-1998) from a grass roots police point of view. As one of the first female members in the RCMP there is an added dimension to the observations.
Dr. Bonnie Reilly Schmidt – Bonnie was named one of the University of the Fraser Valley’s Top 40 Alumni in 2014. She spent ten years in the RCMP as a special constable and criminal surveillance specialist, before returning to post-secondary education. Bonnie earned a Bachelor of Arts from UFV, a Master’s, and a Ph.D. in Canadian History, from SFU. As a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada scholar, Bonnie was also the recipient of the prestigious Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal for Academic Excellence from Simon Fraser University for her Ph.D. dissertation. Bonnie is the author of the recently published book Silenced: The Untold Story of the Fight for Equality in the RCMP. She and her husband live in Langley, British Columbia.
Jennifer Schiffner – Jennifer received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from McMaster University, and completed studies in social service work and police studies at Sheridan College. She then joined the RCMP. Jennifer continued her education, taking certifications in forensic sciences, intelligence analysis, and human resources management from BCIT and SIAST. She received a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from University of the Fraser Valley. Jennifer served over seven years as an instructor/facilitator at the RCMP’s national training academy in Regina, SK. The topics Jennifer instructed were in applied police sciences, firearms, and the use of force. She currently works as a Sergeant in the largest RCMP detachment in Canada, in the Surrey RCMP Training Section.
Margaret Shorter – Margaret grew up as the daughter of a career Mountie. After earning a degree in Marine Biology from UBC, she joined the RCMP herself. She worked in a variety of assignments over her career, including: plainclothes assignments, Operations Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), Staff Sergeant, served on the Deputy Commissioner’s Women’s Advisory Council, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics Integrated Security Unit (ISU) and the ‘E’ Division Border Integrity Program. Margaret was the first female Training NCO in the RCMP’s ‘E’ Division (the province of British Columbia), and the first female Advisory NCO in the ‘E’ Division Support Services Branch. She is one of the longest serving female Mounties, and retired after 36 years of service. Margaret has travelled the world as a member of the International Association of Women Police. She completed a Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Communications in 2013. She and her husband David live in Delta, B.C.