Constable Barb Satanek


  • Proudly wearing her uniform and on patrol since December 2018.

“I have worked hard to be here today and I am grateful every single day for landing my dream job.”

What factored into your decision to go from a career in paramedics to policing?

I have always known that I would end up with a career in emergency services. After I became a paramedic, I knew that down the road, lateral movement or growth could be limited. That’s not the case with policing; there is an abundance of avenues and units you can strive towards. I also knew policing would still allow me to be in a job where my actions would impact the lives of civilians and work towards the betterment of my community. I am passionate about a career in policing as a woman because I find it important that our service equips itself with higher volumes of female officers. This will further enhance the service we provide to our citizens.

A few months on the job, how are you ensuring you find balance?

What works best for me when it comes to balancing work and personal life, is ensuring that my first day off after a set is dedicated solely to just me. It allows me an opportunity to recharge and set myself up for successful days off, mostly consisting of catching up with family and friends, working out and spending time with my dog. I’m pretty good with keeping work related stuff at work and disconnecting myself from that for a few days until I resume my duties. One thing that aids in that balance is keeping the non- police friendships I had prior to joining. Having friends that are police officers is great, as they're probably the best at understanding the impacts of specific calls, but putting effort into old friendships that were formed before CPS is equally as important to me.

Are there biases that you had to debunk as a female officer?

Something my female colleagues and I have been reminded of is that we have entered a male dominant career and that, although not ideal, some stereotypes may still exist about being a female police officer. Some of those stereotypes include the expectation that we will have to work harder to prove ourselves or to show that we are competent in this job. Ever since my first day as a police officer, I have gone to work and done the best I can and at no point have I ever felt inadequate or not up to standard. These confirmations stem from my coworkers, ensuring that I know my work is well received and that I have done a good job on every call I go to and every report I write. My door will always be open for constructive criticism, but the welcome I have received at CPS has never made me think that I was not capable.

Does a female perspective put a different lens on policing?

There are a few ways that a female perspective can be of great benefit in this job, we are great communicators. In certain instances, such as a sexual assault, it can make an enormous difference for victims to be able to discuss a difficult situation with a female officer. Male and female partnerships in patrol provide a great balance, as there is a lot we can learn from each other! Having experienced events in my own life related to domestic abuse, I’m grateful to bring a certain level of care to these types of calls.

What would you say to a young woman thinking of this career path?

For anyone who may be having doubts about entering the police force, whether it be due to physical abilities or other reasons, don’t let those thoughts sway you away from accomplishing your goals. If you want something bad enough, you will always find ways to achieve it. I have worked hard to be here today and I am grateful every single day for landing my dream job. Getting here was not always easy, but damn, was it worth it!


Sergeant Andrea Koolick


  • Currently working in Victim Assistance Support Team.
  • 19.5 years on the job.

“It is crucial to have a well-rounded source of experiences that comes through diversity, to deliver the best course of action or decision”.

How do you find balance?

Balancing a family and a career is challenging in any profession; policing is no different. As a mother to three kids who are heavily involved in hockey, basketball and rugby, I spend most of my time, away from the job, driving and relying on a crock-pot just like many moms!  I accept help from other families when my work schedule conflicts with early ice times but, will always reciprocate on a day when I’m off.  Occasionally, I have to show up to a practice in a uniform but, I think the kids think that’s pretty cool (even the teenagers)!

After nearly 20 years of policing and working in units such as ASIRT, Sex Crimes and now the Victim Assistance Support Team, I’m used to taking off the work hat and putting on the mom hat.  I won’t pretend that I forget everything I’ve experienced at work before coming home but, I manage it through support at work, close friends and family and maintaining my fitness which is important.

What’s just for me and for my self care? My happy place is in the mountains or in the dragon boat.  I love to snowboard in the winter and cycle, hike, kayak, and paddle with the CPS Women’s dragon boat team in the summer.  One of the highlights of my dragon boat experience was travelling to Ireland and competing in the World Police Fire Games where we brought home a silver medal (we are still chasing that gold).  It was an incredible experience to be in another country with our team of police women (who also balance their lives as partners, commanders and mothers), competing for not only CPS but Canada.  I will never forget this incredible experience.

How did a career in policing come to be?

Although I grew up in a policing family, my formal education is certification as an EMT, a diploma in Athletic Therapy from Mount Royal University and a Bachelor of Kinesiology from University of Calgary.  I was privileged to work with some amazing Olympic athletes however, policing kept calling me. I knew I needed diversity in my career and to be able to foster a need for life long learning.  Policing, in particular the CPS, strongly encourages this.  Whether you take courses at the Canadian Police College or continue with your formal education, there is room to keep learning.

What is a myth related to a career in policing that you have debunked?

This was tough to answer so I asked a colleague.  The answer was this: “Being a police officer needs to be the dominating force in your life in order to achieve career success.  You have debunked this.”  I feel that I can successfully balance both my career and the needs of home.

How does a female perspective bring balance to this line of work?

I think a female perspective brings diversity and sometimes an alternative mind set, much like a male perspective would encourage a different line of thinking in a predominantly female occupation.  I think it is crucial to have a well-rounded source of experiences that comes through diversity to deliver the best course of action or decision.

Kathleen Fraser


Respectful Workplace Office

  • Former Crown Prosecutor
  • Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology
  • World traveler, including four years an ex-pat in Australia.


“Balance is an ongoing effort. One never achieves it. It is not static.”

Why is CPS the right place for you?

My desire to do meaningful work is met as I am able to provide direct and at times, significant, support to first responders! I am able to directly help those who come to the assistance of our community when citizenshave been impacted by criminal acts. As well, our courageous officers proactively put their own lives on the line to keep our communities safe. I deeply believe in the value of the work CPS does, and I’m honoured to serve in this organization.

What are the ways that you find balance in your life?

For me, this topic is about healthy boundaries. Balance is an ongoing effort. One never achieves it. It is not static. It is about intentional behavior and it is about choice and the awareness of privilege that allows for this choice. I prioritize activities within all areas of my life (family, career, friendship, and spiritual/self I care) and I constantly take stock as to what areas may require additional attention to maintain balanced and reasonable boundaries. In order to do my job effectively, I am aware that carving out time for self-care as well as quality time with family and friends is not optional. CPS has provided me with a work environment that allows me to make this choice. #grateful

What do different perspectives bring to the job?

In my view, diversity is only the first step of this important step toward equality. Inclusion is key. The more those different perspectives are regularly heard and included in organizational and leadership strategies, the greater ability CPS will have to attract and retain diverse and exceptional talent.

Every diverse perspective, including that of our female members, offers a different way of organizational thinking and ideally, more creative and inclusive outcomes. Female perspectives can help organizations identify systemic barriers to equality, as well as unconscious biases that might underlie organizational decision-making.

I do believe that my lived experience as a female and my work experience within environments that are traditionally heavily led by men (law and law enforcement), contribute to my practice policy that rests heavily on the idea that collaborative and proactive responses are often the most effective in approaching workplace issues, with the key deliverable of restoring and/or maintaining psychologically safe and healthy workplaces.

Are there stereotypes that you think people have about women working in a policing environment?

CPS is often described as paramilitary and rank-based. As a female civilian manager with a reporting line outside of the chain of command (direct reporting line to the Chief), I have been given the opportunity to provide direct input into processes will continue to modernize this image. It is my hope that by working in a collaborative and transparent fashion, I can inspire culture change in ways that will increase employee engagement in our workplace.

Inspector Nancy Farmer


Support Section (Canine Unit, Air Services Unit, Crisis Negotiator Unit, Tactical Unit, Mounted Unit)

  • National Certification in Critical Incident Command.
  • Only serving female Critical Incident Commander at CPS.
  • 23.5 years at Calgary Police Service.

“I believe that when you set your sights and reach for a goal, determination and drive will help you achieve it.”

How do you balance work and personal life?

In my current role this can be challenging, as there is often a lot of overlap into personal time.  I have a very supportive home life and they understand the expectations and demands of my rank.  We do like to travel as a family and we keep busy with my daughter and her horses.

Why did you choose policing and why should other women consider this profession?

Diversity…every day, every call and every interaction with citizens is different.  As police officers we can make a difference in someone’s life, especially when things aren’t going well for them.  We work and train hard and we have a large responsibility both on and off the job to always do the right thing.  This career can be extremely rewarding if you have a calling to it and the challenges it can bring.

What is a stereotype that you have debunked as a female officer?

The stereotype that there are things women can’t do.

When I first started two women were not allowed to work together in a car. That archaic way of thinking inspired me to work hard and be smart in my deployments.  I joined this career for the work and not to worry about some of the attitudes that existed.  My career focused on the operational side and I have worked in various areas throughout the City.  I have achieved a high level of success with the support of some amazing mentors (both male and female) and I have always strived to do the right thing for the right reasons.  I hold people accountable in a respectful manner and more importantly I truly care for the people that work with me.


When I took over the role of the commander of the Support Section I was told that I was the first female commander in Canada, possibly even in North America to have these types of units under her command. Some told me that I would fail and some wanted me to. For me, failing is never an option.


Sophie Dai


Acting Manager, Operations Audit Section

  • Chartered Professional Accountant Designation.
  • With CPS for just over 2 years.

I know there are plenty of women like me out there that are passionate about helping people and making a difference in society.”

How do you find balance?

For me, the key is to spend quality time doing what you’re doing at the moment, and not get stressed by anticipation. For example, every morning when I drive my daughter to pre-school, I try to have a conversation with her about her upcoming day and what we see on the road. This way, I get to laugh with my daughter and see how her mind works, rather than stressing about the work load ahead of me. Same thing goes with work, I try my best to concentrate on work when I am present at work, and when it’s time to leave, I am able to go back to my husband and daughter 100%.

It is challenging to be a mom and a professional at the same time. Luckily, at CPS, we have a strong, diverse team that supports us. Sometimes merely talking to my colleagues and knowing I’m not alone can help a lot!

Along with the balance of work and home, are there other aspects of your life that you are mindful of balancing?

I was born and raised in China, and I moved to Canada shortly after high school graduation.  I am currently working on a book that tells the stories of my family, who have gone through great life challenges and prevailed. The purpose of writing the book is mainly for my daughter. I would like to make sure that she knows her legacy and can be equally proud of it as she is of being Canadian.

Why work at CPS?

I love being a public servant because I want make a difference in people’s life. I can think of no better organization to serve the public than CPS, because we touch people’s lives day in and day out. As boring as auditing may sound, our work at CPS Operations Audit improves the way we help people. I can proudly say that our work creates more value for citizens.

I would like to say that there is more than one way to follow your passion, and law enforcement requires a diverse skill set. Come and check us out!

What does a female perspective bring to the job?

I think a female touch to the “Auditor” role is very helpful. A big piece of our job is problem solving and systems improvement, and people are typically anxious as they are already very busy and likely frustrated by the problem they are dealing with. I always make sure that I go above and beyond to minimize the impact of my presence and my work, from finding efficiency in the way we work to maintaining constant communication, and problem solving with people rather than for people.