Award-winning female officer made history - Winnipeg Free Press

Patrol Sgt. Edith Turner receives James Toal Award from Chief Keith McCaskill.

(Picture by Boris Minkevich)



Award-winning female officer made history

Went undercover, in cell with killer


By Gabrielle Giroday


P
ATROL Sgt. Edith Turner’s journey from teenage gas jockey in northern Manitoba to awardwinning police officer hasn’t been typical.

But in her 17 years on the job, Turner has persevered to become an expert in undercover work and the new supervisor of the Winnipeg Police Service’s aboriginal and diversity unit.

In 2004, when her daughter was only three years old, Turner went undercover in an Ontario prison to help get statements that led to a second-degree murder conviction.

In Canada, it was a first for a female police officer. Going in, Turner wasn’t told how the victim was killed, but she learned about it from her cellmate.

“That was learning on the fly, because no one’s done it before from our agency or for a female officer in Canada at the time,” said Turner, who grew up in Grand Rapids First Nation.

“Nobody in the prison knew, so I was treated and processed as a regular inmate. So none of the guards knew, nobody knew... meaning strip searches, everything was performed.

“I shared a cell, which was six feet by eight feet, with a murderer.”

Turner was honoured Friday at the Winnipeg Police Service’s 22nd Awards Day, held at Immanuel Pentecostal Church. As she received the James Toal Award of Excellence, the crowd gave her a standing ovation.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

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Republished from On7 and the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 12, 2012 A13

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