Patrol Sgt. Edith Turner's journey from teenage gas jockey in northern Manitoba to award-winning police officer hasn't been typical.
But in her 17 years on the job, Turner has persevered to become an expert in undercover work and the new supervisor of the Winnipeg Police Service's aboriginal and diversity unit.
In 2004, when her daughter was only three years old, Turner went undercover in an Ontario prison to help get statements that led to a second-degree murder conviction.
In Canada, it was a first for a female police officer. Going in, Turner wasn't told how the victim was killed, but she learned about it from her cellmate.
"That was learning on the fly, because no one's done it before from our agency or for a female officer in Canada at the time," said Turner, who grew up in Grand Rapids First Nation.
"Nobody in the prison knew, so I was treated and processed as a regular inmate. So none of the guards knew, nobody knew... meaning strip searches, everything was performed.
"I shared a cell, which was six feet by eight feet, with a murderer."
Turner was honoured Friday at the Winnipeg Police Service's 22nd Awards Day, held at Immanuel Pentecostal Church. As she received the James Toal Award of Excellence, the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
The annual award, named for the late Insp. James Toal, honours outstanding service to the police department and community.
Turner has also been a member of the Canadian Amphibious Search Team (CAST), a volunteer group that helps with search and recovery.
She was recently transferred to supervise the aboriginal and diversity unit after supervising a shift in St. James.
She said she's had to prove herself in the course of her work.
"Back (when she joined), there wasn't very many aboriginal officers, especially females, so those were two strikes against me right away," said Turner, 40.
"I just remember dealing with people downtown. People would give me a hard time. They wouldn't believe I was a police officer when I phoned them or knocked on doors... or talked through intercoms, because of my accent."
After the ceremony, her 11-year-old daughter, Emily, placed her single mom's police hat on her head.
Also present Friday was Turner's mother, Patricia Turner, a residential school survivor.
Edith said her mother has been her role model. While Edith was working undercover in prison, for example, her daughter stayed with her mother in northern Manitoba.
"We told her Mommy was working on training," Patricia Turner said.