Spryfield community police officer 'humbled' by international honour

A Halifax police officer has been honoured by the International Association of Women Police with the Community Service Award 2017.

Const. Stephanie Glendenning has been a Halifax Regional Police officer for 22 years

Halifax Regional Police Const. Stephanie Glendenning will travel to Australia in September to receive the award. (CBC)

A Halifax police officer has been honoured by the International Association of Women Police with the Community Service Award 2017.

Const. Stephanie Glendenning has been a Halifax Regional Police officer for 22 years. The mother of two young boys has for the last three years worked as a community response officer, currently in the Greystone community housing area in Spryfield.

The citation praised her ability to give so much to the residents and balance that with her role as a mother of two young boys. She will receive the award in Australia in September. CBC's Mainstreet spoke to her. The interview has been lightly edited for brevity.

CBC: This award is international recognition. How are you feeling about that?

Glendenning: I'm still in shock. I still haven't really wrapped my head around it. I'm severely humbled by it.

CBC: You are a veteran police constable. Why does this job drive you so much?

Glendenning: When I first came to the community care position, it was pretty much because of child-care issues with working shift work. I didn't really know what I was in for.

When I got here, I thought I could really do a lot because I could actually get to know people, instead of only seeing people once. I could see them repeatedly and get to know them and their situations.

CBC: I understand you are famous for taking calls at all hours?

Glendenning: I do! I've actually tried to cut down on that a little bit. I didn't realize how many calls I took after hours until my phone died — I don't know if I killed it from taking so many calls.

I was without a phone from November until March. When I got my phone back, I realized, holy smokes, I really missed the amount of times it rang. I do that, I also answer the [Greystone Community Response Officer] Facebook page.

CBC: What are they calling about?

Glendenning: Anything and everything. If there is a noise complaint and they are worried they can't remain anonymous, I'll put the call in for them.

Sometimes it's little things, like 'I found a bicycle in my yard and when you're in tomorrow, can you come pick it up?'

CBC: Do you ever get calls where people are in some kind of danger and they're not that happy about calling the police, per se, but they'll call you?

Glendenning: I do get those, but we discourage people from calling us if there's an emergency. If I don't answer and I'm tied up with something at home, I'd hate to think I would miss something like that.

I think I've meshed into the community really well. The community was really accepting of me. They made it easy for me to do that. They literally welcomed me into their houses.

CBC: You're a single mom — you have two sons, seven and nine. Does your personal situation help you relate to the people you're helping?

Glendenning: It does for sure. There are a lot of single moms up here and you struggle with different things. You're trying to balance your kids and give them the proper attention they deserve — some women up here have six kids and they're on their own. You have financial issues and school issues and some of the women work. I can take a lot of my personal life and turn it into here.

If you were to ask the 252 families that live up here, probably 200 of them know my kids' names. I bring them up here a lot.

CBC: You were the constable who stopped when a cyclist was hit in a hit-and-run last year and helped save his life. But this award doesn't have anything to do with that. Is that right?

Glendenning: That is right. [The nomination] was done before he had his accident.   

CBC: The awards are going to be given out in Australia in September — and you're going?

Glendenning: I am! We have a bucket list of vacations and Australia was one of my picks with the idea we would go when the kids were older, because I wanted to do a shark-cage dive and if I happened to get eaten by a shark, the kids had to be able to look after themselves.

That was pretty much the lecture I got from the kids when I told them I was going to Australia and they were not coming. I was told I am not to do the shark-cage dive because they're too little to look after themselves.

With files from Diane Pacquette