Policewomen from around the globe gather in St. John’s

Colin MacLean
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Policewomen from more than 50 countries marched through the streets of St. John’s on Sunday. More than 500 officers are in the city for the 50th annual International Association of Women Police (IAWP) Conference. — Photo by Colin MacLean/The Telegram

Talk about a crowd pleaser. One line from Premier Kathy Dunderdale brought down the house during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 International Association of Women Police (IAWP) Conference in St. John’s on Sunday.

“Sisters, I am so happy to see you here,” said a smiling Dunderdale as she addressed more than 500 female police officers from more than 50 countries.

That line, right in the middle of the premier’s speech, got an enthusiastic reaction from the officers, who cheered and clapped for a while before the ruckus died down and she could continue.

Newfoundlanders are inspired by law enforcement officers, she said, and to see so many in the capital city is a real treat.

Women in this province have a long history of strength and leadership, she added, but even so, only a couple of generations ago it was unthinkable for a woman to become a police officer.

So the fact that she was in one room with so many was truly special, she said.

Dunderdale, and several other speakers, addressed the IAWP delegates inside the New Gower United Church. The ceremony was followed by a parade of nations through downtown.

Mayor Dennis O’Keefe spoke after the premier, and his speech had a decidedly jovial tone. But he also had a moment of solemnity.

Before the speakers started on Sunday a candle was lit in memory of all female police officers who died in the line of duty last year — there were more than 100 of them.

O’Keefe pointed to that candle and said, “your story is contained in that candle.”

He went on to say that law enforcement officers face the possibility of death every day when they go to work, and the fact that they still go is a testament to their bravery.

“It never enters my mind that I might not come back. I just assume that I am coming home (when I walk out my door). You don’t,” said O’Keefe.

“That is an absolutely terrific sacrifice that you live day in and day out.”

The IAWP is a global network of international policewomen’s associations and agencies. It provides training, professional development, and health and wellness for its members.

This marks the first time the conference has been held in Atlantic Canada.  It has been in the planning stages locally for more than a year. Dozens of volunteers, including many with the RNC and RCMP, have put a lot of time and effort into preparation.

The officers will be here until Thursday.



Twitter: @TelegramMacLean

Organizations: International Association of Women Police, New Gower United Church, RCMP

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • willy
    September 10, 2012 - 15:51

    I never made a statement improper or otherwise and I would like for you to expand on what you mean as ignorance, because I don't agree with the premier or mayor who are saying what they are supposed to say. And I fail to see why my rebuttal to the story would be a reason to need cops like the ones here for the convention. How you come the the conclusion that I was born to get in trouble with society and in saying so are calling me a criminal because you don't like what I said shows me that you can't take any criticism as a police officer and let your emotions get the better of you.Typical tunnel vision self righteous low level police attitude.

  • Maddie
    September 10, 2012 - 13:31

    Why are some people unable to see the good in anything or anyone ? Why do they love to be negative ? They will be the first to call the police in times of danger. They won't call them for a good time. I have 3 members of my family in Police Forces and my heart is in my mouth all the time-- such is the danger they face on duty ..My son is not yet healthy after being hit by a drunken crazed driver.. He's lucky to be alive. Is that "glory" or "power"?

  • willy
    September 10, 2012 - 10:46

    "Newfoundlanders are inspired by law enforcement officers, she said, and to see so many in the capital city is a real treat". Speak for yourself Premier. “That is an absolutely terrific sacrifice that you live day in and day out.” I don't see it most of these people become cops cause they want the excitement or want to be an authority figure..I know they all say the same thing they want make a difference, if you believe that you are naive...which police think most of the public are. So what is the sacrifice they get good pay and good pensions for a job they chose, there are a lot of jobs more dangerous than being a cop.

    • David Stewart
      September 10, 2012 - 11:15

      Your ignorance and improper statement is why society needs cops like this. You obviously were born to get in trouble with society and cops are there to protect society.