Over the years, a number of police agencies have operated in the region. From the Bytown Association for the Preservation of the Public Peace (formed during the unofficial incorporation of Bytown in 1847), to the various now-defunct municipal police forces, as well as provincial and federal police agencies, the Ottawa area has a rich policing tradition.
Policing in Ottawa has continued to evolve to meet the needs of the community. View this section of our site for past area policing achievements - our history.
Today, the Ottawa Police is proud to say that almost 40% of its employees are female, working in all sections of the Ottawa Police, including the tactical team, dive team, and executive office.
The first Police Woman ever hired by the Ottawa Police Service was Flora Ann Campbell on December 31, 1913.
Born in 1883, Flora Campbell worked as a Probation Officer and Superintendent of the Women’s Hostel before becoming a Police Woman.
Although her duties were supposed to be the same as those of her male counterparts, Flora Campbell was unarmed and did not wear a badge of authority or uniform. And, while she was given arrest powers, she seldom made arrests.
Her actual role was dealing with charged women appearing in court. In many cases where the women were first time offenders, charges were dismissed and Police Woman Campbell was tasked with helping them find employment. Her approach towards women and the law was to resolve as many conflicts as possible without stepping into a courtroom (similar to the ‘Restorative Justice’ process today).
As part of her position, she was also tasked with investigating allegations of child neglect or abuse.
When Ms. Campbell resigned from the Ottawa Police on May 31, 1935, no replacement was sought, as it was felt that her duties were of a ‘social nature’ better carried out by the courts. Through the urging of several local women’s groups, the matter was reconsidered and on July 6, 1936, Policewoman Alice R. Goyette, a 37-year-old widow with two children, was hired.
In June of 1935, Flora Campbell married former Ottawa Police Inspector Thomas McLaughlin.
Her years of service demonstrated the value of women in policing to both the Police Commission and the community.
Flora died in 1961.
Help support the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa by purchasing a "150 Years of Policing in Ottawa" commemorative DVD - all sale proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Find out more about the DVD...
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