You might think it odd that a police officer with almost 25 years of experience would return to university for a master’s degree in business. Inspector Sheree Ortman of the Regina Police Service, who obtained her Masters of Administration in Leadership from the Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business in 2015, begs to differ. Ortman joined the Police Service while pursuing an undergraduate degree in physical activity studies. At the time, she was one of only thirteen women on the Service. Today, about twentytwo percent of the police officers are women. Among other things, Ortman is a Critical Incident Commander, overseeing all of the emergency services teams (SWAT, Crisis Negotiators, the Explosives Disposal Unit) when situations like hostagetakings and armed and barricaded persons arise. Ortman decided to pursue a degree at the Levene Graduate School as she moved up in rank and found herself in positions focused on strategic planning. “At the time, there were limited professional development opportunities in the Police Service with regard to leadership. I thought it was important, if I was going to oversee a number of different sections, to grow more academically: to understand how to motivate employees, empower them, and help them reach their fullest potential.” She took two classes a year over five years. “As a Critical Incident Commander who is subject to call-out 24 hours a day, I thought that would be manageable.” She achieved the rank of Inspector in 2012, and in 2015, received her Masters degree. “Policing is driven on the backs of our employees,” Ortman notes. “It’s a very difficult occupation and work environment. We have high expectations of our officers, who face traumatic events every day, work with very little to no supervision, and work shift work, twelve hours at a time, sometimes fourteen or fifteen hours. In addition, because of the confidential nature of their work, it is often difficult for officers to get the emotional and psychological support that they need. It was important for me to continue to grow and learn what I could do to help them meet organizational and personal expectations and keep them healthy.” Her classes reinforced an already existing interest in diversity. Her fellow students not only came from many different occupations, but from many different countries. “It really did expand my perspective on how to look at a problem from different viewpoints, and to value those viewpoints.” She also found it enlightening to get perspectives on issues from a non-police viewpoint. “I discovered there were solutions from other sectors that we could utilize. We sometimes miss these solutions because we tend to narrow our focus and pigeonhole ourselves into the police environment.” Today, she conducts workshops in diversity, unconscious bias, and inclusion with Sandra Steen, one of her instructors (in human resource management) at the Levene Graduate School. “Because I’ve lived some of the challenges, I can understand a little more clearly some of the obstacles diverse employees face.” She also conducts leadership workshops focused on such topics such as problem-solving and decision-making. Her master’s program also emphasized for her the importance of teamwork. “As a Critical Incident Commander, you manage a number of highly specialized teams. You’re dependent on their input, feedback, and opinions when it comes to solving highly stressful and volatile situations. Your frontline employees are the ones closest to the work. They can offer you most of the insight and potential solutions. As a leader, you should listen more and talk less.” Another advantage of a business degree for a police officer? “There’s a business side to policing: budgets, strategic objectives, training issues, human resource issues…aside from my training as a Critical Incident Commander, a large majority of my responsibilities are strategic rather than operational.” Ortman highly recommends the Levene program. “If you stop growing, you stop improving,” she says. “I think everyone should take advantage of opportunities to grow and expand their experiences and knowledge.”