City police aim to rebalance its white, male workforce

Cst. Jen Nantais, left and Jaime McCabe-Wyville lead a ecuriting initiative by Sarnia Police for more diversity among new recruits. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

Sarnia Police knows it has a diversity problem and is looking to address it.

“In the more than over 160 years since the department was established there has yet to be a single senior administrator who is not a white, cisgender male,” said Sarnia Police Sgt. Jaime McCabe.

“There have only been two women promoted in the service’s history, and none above the rank of Sergeant. The current staff ratio is approximately 9% women.”

McCabe and a handful of other officers have organized a recruitment seminar to help attract diverse candidates including women, visible minorities and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“We have a problem here, we do. Now we’re trying to undo it,” said McCabe, a 21-year policing veteran. “I don’t know how we managed to get away with just 9% and not be put in the spotlight for that.”

The Nov. 16 event will highlight the ins and outs of the job, said McCabe. A quartet of officers will explain the application process, potential interview scenarios, and explain in detail aspects of the job.

The seminar follows a wildly successful female-focused recruiting seminar last year. Response was so strong they had to turn away about 30 would-be attendees, she said.

Policing colleges are starting to better reflect Canada’s changing demographics, she said, and it’s up to individual services to attract a diverse range of applicants.

Sarnia has approved, in principle, the hiring of four new recruits next year.

McCabe, who’s on the hiring board at Sarnia Police Service, was quick to point out qualified applicants are always the top priority, but in a tie-breaking scenario between applicants diversity would be considered, she said.

“Our goal is to see people succeed, so that’s what we aim for.”



WHAT: Sarnia Police Service diversity recruiting seminar

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Sarnia Library Theatre, 124 Christina St. S.