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Public safety director gets nod from Chief of Police

Women police officers gather in Minneapolis for the 48th Annual Training Conference of the International Association of Women Police.
Women police officers gather in Minneapolis for the 48th Annual Training Conference of the International Association of Women Police.
International Association of Women Police

Director of Public Safety Laura Goodman will be presented with the Chief’s Award of Merit by the Minneapolis Police Department, along with 16 other people.

Goodman was nominated for the award by Assistant Chief Janeé Harteau for her work on the team that coordinated the 48th Annual Training Conference of the International Association of Women Police.

Hosting the international conference
The conference, which was held in September at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis, brought together nearly 600 women police officers—the largest attendance the annual conference has ever produced.

In the recommendation for the award, Harteau wrote that “The Minneapolis Police Department received high praise for the thoughtful, relevant and well-prepared training options provided to the participants—which was over three years in the planning.”

More than two years into the three-year planning process, the officer heading up the coordination effort for the conference stepped down from her position. This abrupt change left a vacancy at the head of the coordinating team and the plans for the conference were hanging in the balance.

At that time, Inspector Kris Arneson of the MPD took the reins of the organizational effort, and quickly put together a team of capable individuals who could bring the international conference to success.

Tour de force
Goodman said though the task was overwhelming, the team was very competent, and Arneson’s leadership led to a streamlined and collaborative effort.

“We all jumped in, and in nine months we sort of turned things around and pulled this conference off,” said Goodman. “Not only did we pull it off, but we probably had one of the best ever. We had women police representatives from 62 countries around the world.”

In addition to welcoming United Nations Commissioner Ann Marie Orler, the conference entertained a visit from the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, as well as members of the United Nations Women Peacekeeping Operations. The result was a conference that brought hundreds to Minneapolis, making money for the city, and even inspiring the United Nations to hold a conference nearby.

“We were meeting with lots of high power people and working with programs to help get women into policing both locally and internationally,” said Goodman. “Right now, an awful lot of men get these positions—even positions that are teaching gender-based violence.”

For Goodman, the most stunning part of the international conference happened during opening ceremonies, when conference coordinators lined women up down the blocks of Minneapolis for a traditional parade.

“In the opening ceremonies, they have all the women in their countries’ police uniforms. It’s very impressive when you see 600 women in uniform from 62 different countries,” said Goodman. “Every time I’m there, it brings tears to my eyes, because I look back and I look forward and I think ‘Wow! This is amazing.”

Connections with women
After the opening ceremonies, the International Association for Women Police conference hosted training in child abduction, tactical communication, the trauma of law enforcement deaths, ground defense or use of deadly force, and off duty survival and critical incidents.

“Their goal is to bring more women into policing and to be mentors and guides, and provide information and resources to women policing in the world who don’t have it,” said Goodman. “These connections with women from other countries—and what we can learn from each other—are amazing.”

Goodman said one thing many people don’t realize is that policing is different in every country. Each nation organizes its police force in its own way, with some of the police forces performing certain tasks better than others. She gave the example of Canada as excelling in the area of strategic planning—not only do they put strategic plans into place, but they have a system of checks and balances to ensure those goals are met. In Sweden, men have programs to combat sexual discrimination and harassment in the work place because they believe it harms the department as a whole.

“We in the United States, we always think we do everything the best, but we don’t,” said Goodman. “For example, the South African women are so coordinated and team-like. In the United States, women in policing are often more competitive.”

“South African women in policing are unified. They’re together. They operate together. They are proud and soulful. It’s just amazing to watch it.”

International leadership
Goodman, who served as president of the international association from 1998 to 2000, now serves as the chair of the board of trustees. By maintaining connections with women police officers around the globe, she brings a unique strength to her position at St. Catherine University.

Chief of Police Timothy Dolan will present Goodman, as well as the others who helped to plan the conference, with the Chief’s Award of Merit during an awards ceremony in April.

To learn more about this Laura Goodman, read the article in SCAN.

Feb. 25, 2011 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Faculty, Leadership