I am writing this letter to our community in support of our Chief of Police Shawna Spowart.
To clarify matters, the Cornwall Police Service is comprised of 2 separate associations; The Cornwall Police Association (CPA) and The Senior Officers Association (SOA). The Chief and the Deputy Chief are overseen by the Board of Directors.
As a member of the Board of Directors for the past 7 years and recently as Chair, I was requested to tender my resignation from the Board due to circumstances beyond my control.
In my capacity as Chair and my intent to ensure transparency and truthful communication, I had addressed all CPS employees concerning matters of a survey that the CPA Executive had initiated which I felt needed clarification and this led to the request for my immediate resignation. Consequently, the Secretary of the Board also resigned over concerns of the Chair’s resignation.
The appointment of a capable and accomplished female Chief of Police namely Shawna Spowart represents a significant stride towards inclusivity and gender equality and diversity. It reflects the recognition of women’s capabilities and qualifications to lead traditionally in a male-dominated field. Today I stand united with the former Secretary of the Police Service Board in support of Chief Spowart.
In October 2021, the Board of Directors, of which I was an active member as well, appointed Chief Spowart, not only to symbolize the triumph over gender-based barriers and challenges that have historically hindered women’s advancement in law enforcement, but because she had all the qualifications, knowledge and expertise to deliver the CPS into the future.
With well over 28 years of experience, she has moved up in the ranks and also held the title of Deputy Chief of Police in 2018 until her new appointment as Chief. Never in my 7 years on the CPS Board was there ever any inclination of mistrust or poor leadership on her part. She was always well respected by all sworn officers and civilians in the CPS.
Her tenure on community engagement is remarkable as she continues to be very active in many organizations in our community.
Chief Spowart has played a pivotal role in nurturing positive community-police relations. Let us, as a community, not allow one survey to determine her capability as Chief of Police without all the facts being presented before passing judgment. She, as Chief of Police, should also be given the opportunity to address the concerns expressed by her employees within the survey.
The Police Chief has many responsibilities;
Leadership and Administration
Law Enforcement Planning
Emergency Response and Crisis Management
Collaboration and Partnerships
And you may question why she doesn’t do ride-along similar to Deputy Chief Foy which falls under his day-to-day operations of the organization!
In expressing our views over the unanimously leaked survey to the media, we must remember that Deputy Chief Foy is the primary point of contact with the front line workers (mostly male dominated, however this is changing with the times), which could explain why he is so highly rated in the survey. Hence, any potential biases, unconscious or otherwise, in the survey must also be taken into consideration.
Beyond her professional accomplishments, Chief Spowart serves as an inspiring role model for aspiring female law enforcement professionals.
Let us rally behind and support the remarkable contributions of our Chief of Police Shawna Spowart as a female leader by celebrating her accomplishments and recognizing the transformative impact she can have on law enforcement as a whole and allowing her to continue to enact her vision and work towards a safer community.
Former Chair of Police Service Board
Former Secretary of Police Service Board