Crime Prevention Guide

POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 43 PANS in the community New Glasgow Regional Police Servicecontinued “For my life, where I am with younger children, I’m quite pleased.” Her husband is also an officer with the same police service. Being a female police officer has presented plenty of challenges to Corkum-Timmons, she is pretty open about that fact. “When I started in Stellarton I was only 20 years old. I grew up in a middle class two-parent household, never experienced any struggles or adversity. Life was good, I had a great childhood. The night before my first shift I had a ranking officer who said women don’t belong in policing. I don’t want you here. You can’t do the job that a man can do, but the chief wants you so I have to live with that.” The exchange did not sit well with the police woman. Corkum-Timmons says she has always been a strong, selfdependent woman. “My father was the man of the house in a traditional sense, but he also raised me to be a very independent woman: he taught me to change a tire, drive a standard, how to fix things.” Twenty years later, she is still incredulous at that exchange. “Being 20 and respecting authority and new to the job, my response to that certainly wasn’t what it would be being 40! As a 20-year-old, I just kind of let him say it and moved on. What can you say? As a part-time officer trying to get into a career in policing, if you start off on the wrong foot with a supervisor …you just suck it up. I was so young and so naïve I just accepted it.” But it was eye-opening. “I thought, I can’t do the job that a man can do, but I can certainly do it differently and probably better.” So right from the start, Corkum-Timmons knew her career would be an uphill struggle. “Dickless Tracy was a term that was used, by fellow officers and members of the public.” Despite the lack of respect from some fellow officers, Corkum-Timmons says she never feared that those same officers wouldn’t have her back in a crisis. After 20 years on the job, Corkum-Timmons says attitudes have changed somewhat. “That was a time when a police officer would have been on the job for 30-plus years and was hired off the street to be rough and tumble, when your ability to de-escalate a situation and communication weren’t necessarily at the forefront of policing.” And it’s not like that today. There is still a glass ceiling and policing can still be a bit of an ‘old boys club’, but it is shifting, says Timmons. “Those older mentalities are retiring, becoming obsolete, because essentially they’re not there anymore. It’s taken awhile and it hasn’t been easy. New Glasgow has improved significantly over the past three years or so.” And after two decades of serving and protecting, she finally has another female on her shift. “I’ve never had another female on my shift,” she laughs. Raising two children with a husband who works shift work has been challenging, but Corkum-Timmons couldn’t imagine doing any other line of work. “We’re not always called for the happiest of moments, but I’ve had the opportunity to have specific training in certain things like interviewing children of crime and victims of domestic assault or sexual assault, so that training has enabled me to be more prepared in dealing with complaints of that nature and providing the best service possible to our clients.” She has also had the opportunity to sit on various boards within the community such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving — a group she’s been with for close to 20 years. She also sits on the Pictou County Interagency on Family Violence committee which is an opportunity for service providers within the community to get together to figure out how to best serve victims of domestic violence. She is justifiably proud of her new role and the fact that she has made history locally. “It’s just a shame we’re so late in accomplishing that as a community.” Her promotion involved what she referred to as a “very gruelling competition” - a written exam and an interview board in addition to having her personal file evaluated which includes her training and community involvement. She was not the only one promoted - there were two sergeants and two corporal positions available. She has a bit of advice to other females in non-traditional roles. “First and foremost, and I can say this from my continued continued