Spowart named Cornwall deputy police chief

Shawna Spowart listens to the police board discussions on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Spowart has been named deputy chief of the Cornwall Community Police Service, taking the position previously held by Danny Aikman. With Spowart is, left, Acting Sgt. Tracy Pilon. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – The Cornwall Community Police Service has its first female deputy chief.

The appointment of Shawna Spowart was announced during the police board meeting this morning (Wednesday).

Spowart is taking the position previously held by Danny Aikman. Aikman is chief-designate and will take the position of police chief when Dan Parkinson retires later this year.

Spowart has worked in various branches of the CCPS, including community patrol, the sexual assault and child abuse unit and criminal investigations. Most recently, she has been inspector of field operations for the last four-and-a-half years.

“It’s very exciting and a real honour to be given this opportunity to serve this community in a away that they gave to me when I came here 23 years ago,” Spowart said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

Spowart said she “never really thought about the next level” as she moved through the organization. “I never did envision that (being deputy chief) but now that I’m here, I see it and I’m ready for the opportunity and I think the timing is right.”

Shawna Spowart signs documents at a police board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018 as board chairman Andre Rivette, right, looks on. Spowart has been appointed as deputy chief of the Cornwall Community Police Service. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

Spowart was asked by CNW whether her appointment sends a message to women and girls looking for a future in law enforcement.

“Of course it does. Any time you can look out and see a reflection of yourself, I think that is exciting for young people. In this community, there are a number of strong female leaders. The leader of the hospital is a female. The leader of the Children’s Aid Society is a female and many of the non-for-profit organizations in this community are led by females.”

She says she will take a lot from what she learned from them and apply it to her new role. “It means something to be the first female. But, as far as my leadership role within the organization, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing over the past 23 years.”

Spowart has been involved in some of those organizations. She is currently the chairman of the board of directors for Koala Place. She has also been on the boards of Baldwin House, Counselling and Support Services of SD&G and Cornwall District Immigration Services.

In her new role, some of Spowart’s short term goals are traffic safety and increased enforcement, focusing on distracted driving and impaired driving with the introduction of cannabis.

The deputy chief-designate said policing as an industry is behind the curve on analytics. “What we want to do is really start to use data, statistics, to really drive what it is we pay attention to and focus our work on.”

The 44-year-old is originally from Caledon, Ont. and moved to Cornwall over two decades ago.

“I came here 23-and-a-half years ago as a young 21 year old and this community embraced me. It embraced me in a way that I just really never expected. This is a really great opportunity for me to pay back in the way that they gave to me when I first came here. I’m really honoured.”

Spowart will officially take her position on Nov. 16.