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Tracey Tong/Metro Ottawa
It was a long, and at times, difficult road. But Judith Drover-Janes made it.
Yesterday, the 37-year-old city woman realized her dream of becoming an Ottawa police officer when she accepted a job offer from the service.
The newly minted constable shared her experience of becoming an officer with 25 female police hopefuls at a recruitment workshop held at a community policing centre on Somerset Avenue last night.
“It was a challenge,” said Drover-Janes, adding that the physical component was the toughest part for her.
“It’s very competitive,” she said. “You have to be prepared and really know yourself, and what your strengths are and what your limitations are.”
Currently, 21 per cent of Ottawa Police officers are female, said Constable Linda Monette of the city police’s outreach recruitment project.
“We’d like to bring it up to 50 per cent,” said Monette, adding that the service is also trying to increase its complement of officers from visible minority backgrounds.
But while having a service that reflects the community is a goal, police will still hire the most qualified recruits, Monette said.
“If it’s 25 men, then it’s 25 men. We’re taking the best, most qualified people,” she said.
The workshop, attended by women from age 20 to mid-40s, was police’s second geared towards women.
“The demand is unreal,” Monette said. “I could probably hold one every second week and it would still be full.”
Monette, for one, wishes Ottawa Police had a female recruiting program in place 18 years ago when she joined.
“It would have made my process easier,” Monette said.
But she’s glad she has the opportunity now to make a difference, she said.