North Grenville’s Community Safety Officer, Constable Cathy Lindsey, is retiring at the end of October after a 30-year career with the OPP. Cathy joined the OPP in 1988, after graduating from the University of Ottawa with a degree in criminology and sociology. She began her career in Morrisburg, where she was the fifth woman ever hired in the detachment. “They were only 13 years into hiring females in the OPP,” Cathy says, adding that she was often asked where the male officer was when she was on patrol, or responding to a call. “That would never happen today,” she says.
In 1990, she moved into Ottawa and did traffic and patrol duties and, in 1993, she became a detective in a crime unit. She remembers being particularly proud of a case where they were able to convict a man who had sexually abused two fourteen-year-olds, although the police had very little to go on.
In 1998, the Ottawa Police took over responsibility for her area in Ottawa, and she moved out to the Kemptville detachment on general patrol. In 2000, she was given the position of Community Safety Officer, which she held for the next 18 years. “I was fortunate to be able to hold the position for so long,” Cathy says.
As Community Safety Officer, Cathy worked with various community partners, including Kemptville and District Home Support, Community Living, the Girl Guides and Scouts, and, of course, all the schools. She helped create a province-wide program called KIDS (Knowledge, Issues, Decisions, Supports), which educates Grade 6 students about youth and the law, peer to peer relationships, online and social media, drug awareness, and mental health awareness. “I am a big believer that knowledge is power,” Cathy says. “It’s about being proactive, rather than reactive.”
Cathy also worked with the Health Unit to create a program for Grade 8, and now Grade 7, students about marijuana, e-cigarettes and tobacco.
Technology has been the thing that has changed the most throughout her 30-year career. “When I started, we were still using type-writers and liquid paper,” she says. The rise of the internet has facilitated access to information, but also opened a whole new can of worms when it comes to the law and keeping children safe. “I have noticed that kids are engaging earlier in behaviours that aren’t good,” she says.
One of the most rewarding parts of her position as Community Safety Officer in North Grenville for Cathy has been watching a whole group of kids grow and mature into adults. “I watched them grow up before my eyes,” she says. “I want to create a great community, and for the kids to be the best version of themselves.”
Cathy would like to thank the community for being so supportive over the years. From welcoming her family to the area 20 years ago, to being receptive to the programs she has run through the OPP, she truly feels like a part of the community. Cathy is hoping to do a lot of traveling in her retirement, but also intends to remain an integral part of the community through volunteer work. “This community is awesome,” she says.
Cathy’s last working day will be September 10.