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“Policing offers a lot of everything, under one umbrella”

Interview with Constable Holly Christie, VPD for National Police Woman Day

Cst. Holly Christie posing beside a VPD police car at 2120 Cambie Headquarters

Cst. Holly Christie posing beside a police car at VPD’s Cambie Headquarters

“Once you make the decision to apply to be a police officer, dive in and fully commit. Remember that everyone brings something unique to the table. Be proud of who you are, recognize what things you might have to work on and get going! Your persistence will pay off.” Constable Holly Christie recommends to women who are aspiring to become police officers.

In celebration of National Police Woman Day (September 12), we interviewed Constable Holly Christie, a long-serving police officer for the Vancouver Police Department. Throughout her career in policing, Christie has held various positions in different units ranging from community policing, problem-oriented policing, traffic unit, and diversity section to the public affairs section as well as planning research and audit section. After a brief stint in the recruiting unit, she is now back to patrol in District 3 where she is also busy engaging with the public on a more personal level using her #VPD Twitter handle. Christie is married and has a 17-year-old son and two dogs. In her spare time, Christie loves spending time with her family, spinning, photography and last but not least, enjoying good coffee!

She gave us a first-hand account of being a policewoman and a few insights into the progress of gender equality in policing.

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You have been a police officer for 20 years. Why did you want to become a police officer?

I became a police officer because I liked the idea of being out and about in communities. I love to drive and the idea of having the opportunity to work several jobs within one career always interested me.

Please describe a moment that filled you with pride serving as a police officer in Vancouver.

This moment would be the 2010 Olympics. I loved helping show off our awesome city!

What support services are available for women at Vancouver PD?

We have several members that work in a peer support capacity as well as officers and civilians that volunteer their time to support anyone needing it at all hours, 24/7 365 days a year. BC Women in Law Enforcement is a non-profit organization that women (police officers and civilian employees) can tap into, that helps strengthen, unite and promote women in law enforcement from all over.

Where have you seen improvements when it comes to gender equality in policing, and where do you still see room for growth?
There is always room for growth in policing and any organization for that matter, as things are continuously changing in our world. A recent initiative with regard to gender equality was the #VPD facilitating a recruiting information session for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. This is ongoing.

The relationship between a dispatcher and officers is critical during an emergency response. How do E-Comm’s dispatchers and call takers impact your work as a police officer?
Our relationship is imperative to our safety and the public’s safety.  The information call takers receive and relay to dispatchers for us to respond to is like a puzzle. Everyone in this equation is trying to get as many pieces as they can to try and put the story together, so we can help people. It is definitely a team effort and we learn from each other as well.

What are some challenges that you face as a woman in policing?
We are well supported with so much. Childcare issues I believe can still be challenging at times, not just for women, but all people that are parents on our job.

What ideas do you have in mind for the future of policing?
More mental health-supported units roving the city (police and nurses), more options for police to help in the referral process for individuals that are addicted and are seeking treatment.

How will you celebrate National Policy Woman Day today?
I will celebrate two ways: By giving a “shout out” to the police women I work with, those that have paved the way, and I’ll remind all young people to go after what makes them happy and what intrigues them in life. Policing offers a lot of everything, under one umbrella!

Is there anything else you’d like to share on this National Police Woman Day?
Yes, there is! – Thank you to ALL the police women all over the world, we ARE helping make a difference! Happy National Police Woman Day!

National Police Woman Day is an annual celebration dedicated to honouring women in policing. For a long time, women had little to no representation in the police force and National Police Woman Day celebrates the contributions of women in law enforcement and the progress they have made through better representation.

Cst. Holly Christie with little girl in policewoman costume

Cst. Holly Christie with little girl in policewoman costume

Cst. Holly Christie enjoying a road trip

Cst. Holly Christie enjoying a road trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E-Comm Media Statement – August 30, 2022

In anticipation of a busy summer for emergency services and the potential for heightened overtime requirements, E-Comm undertook a significant number of initiatives to support the mental and physical health of our staff while ensuring we could continue answering 9-1-1 calls from British Columbians in need of emergency help. Some of these initiatives included increasing access to psychological supports for staff and providing pay enhancements for overtime callouts.

We know it has been another challenging summer for our staff, particularly our call takers and dispatchers, and want to acknowledge the toll this continued need for regular overtime can have. As an organization, E-Comm is assessing all available short- and long-term options which will allow us to support the health and wellness of our staff, including the possibility of extending our current initiatives.

When British Columbians dial 9-1-1 in a life or death situation, it is critical that someone is available on the other end of the line to answer their call for help. As the first first responders, E-Comm call takers and dispatchers play this integral role in the emergency response ecosystem to ensure the public gets help from first responders when they need it most.

Like many other public safety agencies facing staffing challenges this summer, there have been times where E-Comm has relied on employees working overtime to make sure there were enough people available to answer 9-1-1 calls and dispatch first responders. This does include occasions where “forced overtime” notices have been issued to some staff. Although forced overtime is an absolute last resort option for E-Comm, it is available through our collective agreement with CUPE Local 8911 as a mechanism to mitigate the potential risk to public and responder safety based on E-Comm’s staffing levels.

Since the beginning of June, we have issued 13 notices of forced overtime which have resulted in 9.5 shifts being covered in this manner–all which have been compensated in accordance to our collective agreement.

 

Media Statement: Response to open letter of CUPE Local 8911

Vancouver, B.C. – E-Comm has been very transparent about the fact that our organization is understaffed and underfunded. As the usage of emergency communication services continues to increase, the current funding model – which is a local government level responsibility – is not meeting the needs of the system or the public. We share CUPE Local 8911’s view that the current funding model is inadequate and we need local, regional and provincial levels of government to re-consider how best to ensure the system is properly funded.

We recognize provincial and local governments have limited resources, but we need to find a way to ensure the critical public safety services E-Comm provides are appropriately managed, delivered and resourced. This is why we are working closely with our first responder partners and governments at both levels – provincial and municipal – to ensure we are providing the best services possible.

We believe E-Comm’s consolidated model of emergency communications service delivery is the most efficient and cost effective one for B.C. Therefore, we will continue to advocate for the funding and resources our organization needs to deliver the right level of service for British Columbians.

The contribution of our staff to public safety in our province cannot be overstated. They play a critical role in emergency services and we recognize the toll our service delivery challenges are having on our people. We are continually impressed by the dedication of our employees, who work longer hours and take on extra shifts, often missing breaks and not getting the downtime they need. And we understand the impact this is having on our frontline staff. E-Comm is committed to the well-being of all our employees and will continue to work toward ensuring our organization is properly staffed and funded in a sustainable way.

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About E-Comm

E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service, wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley. In 2019, E-Comm received more than 1.84 million 9-1-1 calls in B.C. and answered 97 per cent of those calls in five seconds or less.

Media Contact

media@ecomm911.ca
604-215-6248

E-Comm estimates close to 20% of 9-1-1 calls in B.C. are accidental

Dialing 9-1-1 by mistake may put others in danger by diverting critical emergency resources

 

Vancouver, B.C.—If you have ever dialed 9-1-1 by accident, you are not alone. E-Comm estimates that nearly 20 per cent of the emergency calls it receives are accidental. While it may be an innocent mistake, the impact of accidental calls can be harmful and E-Comm is asking for the public’s help to prevent pocket dials or accidental calls to 9-1-1.

“During each shift, a significant number of calls I receive on the emergency lines are misdials or hang-ups from people who have accidentally called 9-1-1,” confirms Police Call Taker Roanne. “Some pocket dials are obvious – we can hear people having fun, singing along to music while they’re driving or cheering at sporting events. But we still need to take the time to call people back and confirm there isn’t an emergency happening.”

Accidental calls are dangerous because they take critical resources away from people in emergencies who need them the most. E-Comm call takers are trained to treat every 9-1-1 call as an emergency until they can confidently determine otherwise – a process integral to ensuring the safety of its callers, particularly those who might be in crisis but unable to communicate verbally.

E-Comm receives hundreds of accidental calls every single day. To raise awareness around this issue, E-Comm has launched a new public education campaign comprised of two dramatic accidental call renditions that illustrate how difficult it can be for call takers to discern between accidental calls and real emergencies.

Accidental calls are a growing concern in part, due to the rapid growth of mobile devices. E-Comm has seen 79% of 9-1-1 calls come from a cellphone so far in 2022, a significant increase from 67% in 2012. As a result, we are seeing more and more accidental calls flood our emergency lines.

“Many times, people don’t even realize that they’ve called us by mistake and when they do, they instinctively hang up the phone,” says Police Call Taker Meegan. “If you call 9-1-1 by accident, please don’t hang up. As our videos illustrate, sometimes it can be difficult to know if what we’re hearing on the other end of the line is an emergency situation or a misdial. The important thing is to stay on the line and let us know so that we can ensure you are safe.”

Five tips for preventing pocket dials:

  1. Lock and store your cellphone carefully whenever it’s not in use.
  2. Know and understand the features on your cellphone and smartwatch. If you have “fall detection” or Emergency SOS functions enabled, become familiar with how they are triggered.
  3. Turn your device on airplane mode if children are playing with it.
  4. Do not program 9-1-1 into any phone.
  5. If you do call 9-1-1 by accident, do not hang up. We need you to stay on the line so that we can ensure your safety.

Learn more about accidental calls here. Want to become a public safety superstar? Protect your loved ones and pledge to use 9-1-1 responsibly at www.911pledge.ca.

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Interview Opportunity

Police Call Takers Meegan and Roanne will be available for interviews on Wednesday, July 20 from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm PDT. Media are invited to E-Comm’s Vancouver location at 3301 East Pender Street, Vancouver B.C. Interviews must be confirmed in advance.

Video/Photo


About E-Comm


E-Comm is the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers in 25 regional districts in British Columbia and provides dispatch services for more than 70 police agencies and fire departments across the province. E‐Comm also owns and operates the largest multi‐jurisdictional, tri‐service, wide‐area radio network in the province used by police, fire and ambulance personnel throughout Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley.

Media Contact

E-Comm
604-215-6248
media@ecomm911.ca

UPDATED: Rogers Communications Outage

Vancouver, B.C., July 11 — At approximately 5:30 p.m. on July 10, Rogers Communications Inc., (Rogers) advised that services had been restored for most of their customers.

Please note that the 9-1-1 system was not compromised during the outage and remains fully functional at this time.

If you continue to experience problems with your cellular service, please contact Rogers directly.

E-Comm continues to advise members of the public without access to a working phone and in need of emergency services, to first try dialing 9-1-1. If you are unable to connect, find alternate means of contacting 9-1-1. This includes using a landline or wireless device serviced by a different carrier, going to a neighbour’s house, using phones at nearby businesses or community centres, or heading to the closest fire department for assistance. We also ask that people refrain from making test calls to 9-1-1. It is imperative we keep the lines open for emergency calls only.

For more information and updates about the outage contact Rogers Communications.

 

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Vancouver, B.C., July 8 —Today, at approximately 2 a.m., E-Comm began to receive reports of a telecommunications outage impacting Rogers and Fido customers across Canada. At this time customers with either carrier are not able to use their phones to make any calls; including to 9-1-1. Please note that the 9-1-1 system is not compromised and remains fully functional. At this time the outage impacts Rogers and Fido customers only.

E-Comm is advising members of the public without access to a working phone and in need of emergency services to find alternate means of contacting 9-1-1. This includes using a landline or wireless device serviced by a different carrier, going to a neighbour’s house, using phones at nearby businesses or community centres, or heading to the closest fire department for assistance. We also ask that people refrain from making test calls to 9-1-1. It is imperative we keep the lines open for emergency calls only.

For more information and updates about the outage contact Rogers Communications.

 

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Media Contact:
E-Comm 9-1-1
604-215-6248
media@ecomm911.ca

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