With the recent hire of Insp. Wendy Mehat, Ridge Meadows RCMP is the first detachment of its size to have women in all of its leadership positions.
Mehat, who will be responsible for overseeing the plain clothes investigative support team, the road safety target team and uniformed community response; joins Insp. Allison Good, who manages uniformed police officer operations; and Supt. Jennifer Hyland, who runs the entire detachment.
While the Ridge Meadows RCMP realized it was a momentous occasion, they considered not drawing any attention to their all-female leadership.
Hyland said when they knew Mehat was coming on board, she and Good discussed how it would be ‘history-making and ground-breaking.’
“We wanted to celebrate how special it was, but there was a part of us that wanted to say nothing, because there has always been the odd comment about women just getting jobs for being women,” the top cop said.
Hyland is only too happy to discuss what she deems the exceptional qualifications of the new Ridge Meadows RCMP leadership team.
“Between us, we’ve got confessions from murder suspect that have been convicted in court, we’ve put serial rapists away, we’ve put people who abuse children away, and we have someone who’s a gold commander that managed the fire seasons,” she said.
“Our resumes are significant, so any dismissive talk around us being handed these jobs can be countered by discussing our numerous achievements.”
The path was not easy for any of the women, the superintendent continued to point out.
“We didn’t get here because we’re women,” she said. “We got here in spite of being female in a very difficult, traditionally male-dominated environment.”
Good said she feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a lot of other women, as well as learn from female role models, in her career.
‘The most significant piece about [being in a leadership role] is now I feel like I’m able to pay that forward and be able to be a role model and a leader for our next generation of women,” she said.
“To be able to help [younger female police officers] see that achieving high-ranking positions is possible is important.”
Good said the leaders were having an informal conversation recently and the subject of their kids’ perception of them came up.
“We all have daughters - and to them, it’s no big deal that we’re in the roles we are in, and yet for us, considering where we all started, it is a big deal, because there just wasn’t this same situation before.
“So this is an opportunity for us to be women, and do a job that we all love and that we believe in, and be able at the same time to show our new generation what the opportunities are for them.”
Insp. Mehat has arrived from the Surrey Detachment where she spent the past several years working in various roles, including: frontline policing, professional standards and the community response unit.
She took on the role of inspector as Surrey’s community support and safety officer in 2017.
In her past role, Insp. Mehat oversaw Surrey RCMP’s police mental health and outreach team, community response units, youth section, emergency operations and planning, diversity/indigenous policing, and the mobile street enforcement unit.
She has also been asked to contribute to federal serious and organized crime, as well as national security investigations.
The new hire said she is very inspired and excited to work in an all-female leadership team.
“Growing up, I was one of three daughters, and have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by positive female role models within the RCMP,” she said.
“As a parent to two young daughters, it is important for me to ensure that they feel empowered to be strong and pursue their career goals.
“I’m looking forward to working closely with Supt. Hyland and Insp. Good to serve the communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.”