Q & A wtih Constable Natalie Aitken
Written by Admin
Constable Natalie Aitken has been serving our community for 13 years, holding numerous positions within the Winnipeg Police Service. This spring she accepted a position as one of two Public Information Officers and is quickly becoming one of the police service’s most familiar faces. From the media room at the Public Safety Building Constable Aitken shared what it’s like to be a woman in uniform.
What does your position as a Public Information Officer entail? There’s two Public Information Officers and we relay information to the citizens of Winnipeg regarding what’s going on in their city. We have seven-day coverage and we have an excellent working relationship with members of the media. We’ll hold briefings outlining significant arrests, drug seizures we’ve made, or public safety announcements. Prior to composing the release Jason and I review reports and liaise with investigators to ensure accurate and appropriate information is released to the public.
What other positions have you held within the Winnipeg Police Service over your 13 year career? I started out as a general patrol officer in 1998, which really is the meat and potatoes for a police officer and it was an awesome experience. I have been fortunate to have worked in a number of specialty units including the Domestic Violence Unit, Community Relations Unit and the Training Academy. I was also a School Education Officer. We could be training elementary school patrols in the morning, then do a drug or impaired driving presentation to high school students it the afternoon, so that job was unbelievable. Then I moved to the Crime Prevention Section and worked with businesses to help prevent things like identity theft and other crimes targeted at business owners. There are so many opportunities within the Service, and now I’m here as a Public Information Officer. It’s excellent because what I did in the past is completely different from what I’m doing now.
As an officer what is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Each and every day when officers put on their uniforms they are trying to make this city a safer place. It is something we strive to do. As for me personally, I do understand our role is sometimes to deal with the negative news as a Public Information Officer. But what’s most rewarding is when we’re able to highlight some of the positive sides of policing that the public might not normally see. For example all the positive work our officers are doing when they’re not in uniform like volunteering for a sports program or club at an inner-city school. Recently we announced a new litter of K-9 puppies so that was really positive fun news for the public to hear.
Any advice for young women in Winnipeg looking to become police officers? Over the years the number of females applying for our Service has been increasing and women should know this is definitely a career they can do. We receive a lot of training here and we are given the necessary tools to succeed and I believe any woman no matter her size can pass the fitness standard, with training. My experience with this organization has been absolutely positive. The Winnipeg Police Service is a great place to work because there are so many avenues that you can take. We really are a team, we work with a partner, and we’re involved in the community. I would strongly encourage any women interested in law enforcement to pursue this exciting career.