A veteran member of the Truro Police Service is the first woman officer on the town’s force to receive her sergeant’S stripes.
Shari Pictou, who joined the department in May 1999 was promoted to sergeant recently along with Robert Hunka, who has been with the force since October 2008.
Chief Dave MacNeil said both officers were promoted strictly on their own merits as individuals and based on their police work.
And while it is good to have diversity on the department’s leadership team, MacNeil said, Pictou’s promotion was based entirely “on her qualities and her abilities.”
“Really, it’s a non-issue for us. She is a great person and she is an excellent police officer. So gender didn’t really have a role to play at all in the promotional process,” MacNeil said.
“People see things from different perspectives and bring different backgrounds and things. But her promotion, make no mistake about it, had nothing to do with her being female.”
Hunka’s promotion was also based on who he is and what he brings to the department as an individual, the chief said.
“He does a great job. He’s very connected to the community, a lot of people know him, he grew up here.
“And both of them are looking forward to their new roles, I’m sure, as we are having them as a part of the leadership team.”
The two promotions are not new positions but are merely filling vacancies created by retirement.
The Truro department has 36 officers, of which five positions are sergeant’s roles.
“They’re frontline supervisors. Each shift has a sergeant in charge,” MacNeil said. “They’re the boss. They run the shift.”
Such promotions only occur when there are vacancies in the ranks and the chief said successful applicants are selected following a “pretty rigorous process” that includes a résumé component involving education, background, volunteerism and years of service.
There is also a written essay component on relevant policing topics and a written examination followed by a face-to-face session with an interview board.
“They’re both excellent people first off and very good police officers. They bring lots to the table experience-wise. They’re very good with the public,” MacNeil said.
“They get the mission. They get the goals and service, that we are community based. They get along with their fellow officers and they are going to be great leaders in the department.”