2 women make history as first female officers to work for Winkler Police Service
Published Monday, July 10, 2017 2:26PM CST Last Updated Monday, July 10, 2017 6:15PM CST
In more than a century with a municipal police service, a woman has never worked as a sworn police officer in Winkler.
That's all about to change with the hiring of three new officers. One is a man and two are women.
Megan Fallis and Kendra Derksen are set to make history, as the first two women to work as police officers in the southern Manitoba city.
Derksen went to school, grew up and still lives in the Winkler area, while Fallis works as a social worker and currently lives just outside Winnipeg.
They will both begin their recruit training at Saskatchewan Police College in Regina on July 31.
"This is big," said Derksen. "It's exciting to be the first two to get in."
"It'll be challenging, but we're really excited to do this."
Fallis hopes it empowers more women to apply.
"I think it's really cool to be making history," she said. "I'm really looking forward to it."
Winkler Police Chief Rick Hiebert said new recruits are required to pass a physical and written test, as well as go through an interview process before they're hired.
He said adding women officers to the police service is long overdue, but hasn't been for a lack of trying.
Hiebert said traditionally fewer women apply then men and up until these two latest hires none have met the qualifications.
"We deal with both genders when we're called to a scene so it's important to diversify," said Hiebert. "It's healthy all around."
Fallis, Derksen and a third officer will return from the training in December to start their new jobs. They'll spend some time getting to learn ropes with other officers before getting penciled in for a regular shift.
"It's good that there's two of us together," said Derksen. "I don't see any concerns about it. I think we're working with a good group of guys here so I think it'll be really good."
According to Statistics Canada, women accounted for 21 per cent of all police officers in the country in 2016. The number of women working for municipal police services in Manitoba falls below the national average.