Sunday, February 22, 2009

Refuse the Stereotypes

Saskatoon’s First Female Police Inspector
My sister in law has been promoted and is now the first woman Inspector in the Saskatoon Police Service. I am delighted – for so many reasons.

Shelley certainly merits the promotion. She’s brought intelligence, creativity, honesty and hard work to every position she’s held – from bicycle patrol to policy development to coordinating a conference for the International Association of Women Police.

But I’m also delighted to see that the Saskatoon Police Service is recognizing and rewarding officers like Shelley. And I’m delighted to know that women are breaking through the glass ceiling. When Shelley entered the police force, there were 10 women officers; now there are 90. That’s a significant increase.

Finally, I’m delighted that the media gave this story such a high profile. Because it’s a good news story, and the media has a tendency to focus on the negative rather than the positive.

Negative Stereotypes
Our society has become so cynical. We think politicians are corrupt, City workers are lazy, and police officers can’t be trusted. Is that really true? And why are we focussing on the bad news stories rather than the good?

Over the past six months, I have interviewed a number of Saskatoon’s civic managers. It was an eye opener. These people truly care about being good role models for their staff and about making a positive difference in the lives of City residents.

These municipal employees are not paper shufflers whose only interest is in getting ahead personally. They are bringing intelligence and creativity to problem solving and devoting time and energy to creating a better community.

Positive Energy
Sure, some people are lazy and dishonest. But let’s focus our attention on those who aren’t. Think how much positive energy we can create by celebrating the good in our society and by believing that each of us can make a difference in our world.

Photo credit: Greg Pender, Saskatoon Star Phoenix