Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Award-winning female officer made history

Went undercover, in cell with killer

  • Print

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.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 12, 2012 A13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman pledges to find efficiencies at City Hall

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Jets' three pre-season losses in a row are a sign of things to come?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google