A Zimbabwean woman has made history after she became Ottawa’s first black woman sworn in to the rank of inspector.


Isobel Granger was the first black female officer hired by the Ottawa Police Service back in 1994. “I grew up in segregation with doors that were permanently closed to me,” said Granger, who first pursued her dream of policing in Zimbabwe — then called Rhodesia — when she applied to an all-white division of the British South Africa Police.

Being of mixed race, Granger suspected she passed through the initial recruitment due to her last name. She fully expected to be rejected once recruiters saw her skin tone. “But I went through the process saying, ‘You’ll have to eliminate me before I eliminate myself.’ Before I knew it I was hired (as) the first non-white to join white ranks,” she told Ottawa Citizen.

She emigrated to Canada in 1991 in search of a better life for her children, but “it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be,” she said, recounting examples of near-daily discrimination she would encounter.

“I’ve encountered more prejudice here in Canada than racism, because prejudice is born out of ignorance and fear — when you don’t know something you’re afraid of it. Once people are awakened and enlightened tosomething, they develop empathy,” she said.

Granger applied to the Ottawa police in 1991, but withdrewher application when she realized the force, at that point, had never hired a black female officer. She called the recruitment office three years later, and was hired in June of that year.

But she still experienced hardship as she worked her way through the ranks. “It’s taken me three times as long as anybody else to get where I am. The higher up you get the greater the challenges are.

But I have no regrets because I’ve been able to be involved in some amazing things.”



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