Leaders in the Shelburne community continue to rise above long-standing norms. This time it is occurring in policing.
On January 19th, 2021, Althea Alli was named Vice-Chair of Shelburne’s Police Services Board, making her the first BIPOC woman to hold the position.
Althea Alli has become a prominent fixture in Dufferin since arriving in Dufferin several years ago. Besides the Police Services Board, Alli has served on the Shelburne Anti-Racism Task Force, Dufferin County’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Glenbrook Elementary School’s Parent Council. She was also Director for the Shelburne Fall Fair and Vice-Chair for the Fiddle Park Parade.
One of many goals Althea Alli has for her time as Vice-Chair of Shelburne’s Police Services Board, and as a female leader in general, is listening to the community and teaching those that may not always be heard how “to utilize their voice.”
As the Director for the Choices Youth Shelter in Orangeville and as a Community Outreach Leader for the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association (DCCBA), Althea Alli has proven herself as a public figure. Moreover, Alli planned and organized Shelburne’s annual Multicultural Day Event, in addition to a variety of fundraising initiatives that have benefited many in Dufferin County. Furthermore, Alli is an entrepreneur, skilled photographer, and a human resource professional. Later this month, she will be jurying the Black History Month Exhibition held by the Museum of Dufferin in partnership with the DCCBA that opens on February 9th.
Shelburne’s Police Services Board is responsible for governing the Shelburne Police Service. It fulfills the role of setting objectives and priorities for the “provision of adequate and effective policing for the Town of Shelburne,” as per the Shelburne Police Service’s website. Althea Alli is one of the two provincial appointees to Shelburne’s Police Services Board. In addition to Alli, the board is composed of Shelburne’s Mayor Wade Mills, Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson, Mike Fazackerley, and Dan Sample.
Constable Jennifer Roach of the Shelburne Police Service was the first to point out the significance of Alli taking on the position of Vice-Chair for the Shelburne Police Services Board.
“This is a first and an important moment for the community,” explained Constable Roach. She mentioned how Alli is a powerful speaker and will carry out the duties of Vice-Chair well. “When Althea speaks, she chooses her words carefully, and people listen.”
Constable Roach has also broken barriers throughout her career. She is the only woman on the Shelburne Police Service and is also the first, and last, female to become the President of the Shelburne Police Association. The Shelburne Police Association represents uniformed officers and civilian employees belonging to the Shelburne Police Service. Roach has served two terms as President unopposed, with her final day in that position being February 18th when the town switches over to being serviced by the Ontario Provincial Police.
With the change to OPP, Constable Jennifer Roach looks forward to the opportunity to work with more women. After having worked as a paramedic in the area for 16 years, eventually becoming a supervisor and an acting commander in that field before joining the Shelburne Police Service, she is no stranger to being the only woman in the room.
Both Alli and Roach know that with enough effort, all challenges can be overcome. That being said, both mentioned how important it was to acknowledge the roadblocks that they have faced and that these must be removed for future generations. Constable Roach shared how a recently retired female colleague had recalled that they used to have to “carry their guns in a purse” and wear skirts. Even though that policy has not existed in some years, there is still progress to be made overall.
“Hard work is still required, but this notion that ‘it was tough for us, so it must be tough for everybody else’ is just wrong,” explained Constable Roach. “We need to make sure it gets easier for females to achieve what they want to achieve.”
Dufferin News asked what advice they had for young women pursuing leadership roles.
“Find something that interests you. Not just a job, but a passion. Something that speaks to you. Do your research, find out what you need to do, and speak to other women in the position. Then, if it is something that truly interests you, go for it,” said Constable Roach.
“Don’t put yourself in that box that society puts you in. You have the right to achieve what you want in this life if you work hard. If you’re looking to be in a leadership position, it is our duty to pave the way for others. To be open. To set examples for the younger generation so that they can grow up and be leaders for their generation,” expounded Alli.
“The sky is the limit,” added Constable Roach.
Reference Links – Shelburne’s Police Services Board – More Barriers Broken
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