Inspector Lynne BuehlerInspector, Support Services - Peterborough Police Service
Why did you want to become a police officer?
I wanted to contribute on a very real level to the type of society I wanted to live in. I have a strong sense of justice and fairness and I believed that these are important attributes for an officer. I believed I would represent the Service and my community well. The safety of our community is firmly connected to quality of life and to the strength of our democracy. Policing is on the lead edge of that. Our justice system is not a perfect, but it is a very good one and I wanted to be a part of it on the front line.
What was one hurdle you had to overcome to become a police officer?
I was hired in 1985. Just prior to this time, there were height and weight restrictions to become a police officer. The Ontario Human Rights Commission declared that practice discriminatory, and those restrictions were removed. However, this did not remove the prejudice that widely existed regarding women’s ability to do the job. Instructors at the Ontario Police College openly told my classes that there was no place for women in the field. Women’s physical ability and emotional fragility were openly challenged. It was not a welcoming or supportive environment in many respects. None the less, I loved the work. The biggest hurdle for me in the early days was managing the negativity and remaining positive about my ability to do the job and my place in the profession.
What would you like to tell a woman who wants to become a police officer?
I would tell her not to be intimidated by the gear. You will learn to use the gear. An officer’s most important tool is not found on her belt. It’s her communication skills. Officers need to be able to
connect with people from all walks of life. Strong communication skills will often defuse a situation and result in compliance without physical intervention.
What was the best experience you have as a police officer?
There have been so many! For me, the greatest rewards came from investigating sex offences and managing high risk offenders. I was often able to get children to tell me what had happened to them. This is a significant hurdle in investigations involving children: the disclosure is often necessary for a charge to be laid. I believe the work I did to monitor high risk offenders living in our community played a significant role in preventing them from reoffending. That was truly rewarding work.