SPRINGDALE, N.L. — Const. Paula Strowbridge is a shining example of what going above and beyond truly means in both law enforcement and life.
While she is an exemplary police officer out of the Springdale detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), it is the way she performs those duties with commitment and compassion that extends the mandate that accompanies the badge she wears.
For these reasons, as outlined by the people of the region she has touched over the years, she is the 2018 Newfoundland and Labrador Crime Stoppers Police Officer of the Year.
As is expected of a person who is spoken of so kindly for their caring and generous personality, Strowbridge was humbled, and remains so, by the recognition.
“I don’t feel like I have done anything that special,” she said. “I am a very small piece of a very large puzzle. I am fortunate to work with some really good members of the RCMP in Springdale, and throughout my career, and it really takes a nation of us to keep it going.”
There were many letters of support filed with the nomination to Crime Stoppers. The encounters the authors described ranged from calls for police assistance, to presentations involving anti-bullying, fraud, drugs, cyber-safety, safe schools, and seniors’ protection, and her volunteer work in the area. As varied as the situations were, the message was the same. Strowbridge cares.
“I have always said, if I can do something to help one individual, then I have done what I set out to do,” Strowbridge said. “It’s impossible to help everybody, but it is about putting one foot in front of the other.”
The constable says she does not put on her uniform and consciously make a decision to be a certain way or think she will impact somebody’s life on any particular day.
“I was raised in a family that you either put 100 per cent into it or you don’t do it,” the Springdale native said. “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well … that follows through throughout your life and no matter what you do, be it teaching or with the RCMP.”
Going the extra step is about putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes, according to Strowbridge. She would hope somebody would do the same for her and her daughters, if the situation called for it.
Society does not always see law enforcement officers in a positive light, so it is also important for her to do anything she can to change that perception. She says she never considered her impact on the community until she read those letters of support. Through the tears those words brought to her eyes, she saw the difference she is making.
Quotes of support
“In these times of hearing about Olympic and Paralympic and other sports medals, I would hold Const. Strowbridge in gold medal status, and that would then favourably transfer to her team, detachment and force,” Don Huxter, Springdale resident and nominator.
“Officer Strowbridge, as a person, extends courtesy and compassion both in her job and as a resident,” Springdale Mayor Dave Edison
“It is impressive that the overwhelming sense that remains is that Const. Strowbridge is fundamentally concerned about the well-being of the students,” Ruth Cameron, vice-principal Indian River High
“Her training as a police officer is an asset to all areas of her life, as well as her compassionate heart is an asset to her career choice,” Hettie Burton, member of the Silver Gliders Figure Skating executive.