A civilian Service member was recognized by her peers for her work streamlining court processes over her career.
Court Services Senior Adviser and Planner Carol Gowanlock was the recipient of the Civilian Award of Achievement that recognizes an individual who provides significant support to their law enforcement colleagues at the Ontario Women in Law Enforcement (OWLE) 20th anniversary celebration on April 28 in Mississauga.
“This is quite a surprise,” said Gowanlock, when her name was announced as the winner at the gala attended by several senior Service members, including Acting Deputy Chief Richard Stubbings, Corporate Services Director Kristine Kijewski and Inspectors Sonia Thomas and Pauline Gray, who was the OWLE Officer of the Year winner in 2014. “It’s quite an honour to be recognized with this prestigious award. I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to lend my voice and expertise to a variety of processes.”
Starting as a part-time court officer 24 years ago, Gowanlock was hired full-time two years later and worked at Old City Hall for three years before being promoted to supervisor in 1996, where she led a team dedicated to identifying suitable candidates for court-officer positions.
In 1999, she was elevated to location administrator which, at the time, was the highest Court Services civilian rank. In that role, Gowanlock provided leadership and direction to members under her command and, as the officer in charge of courthouse operations and prisoner transportation, she managed full- and part-time officers and administrative support staff who performed a wide variety of complex duties and activities to ensure the efficient operation of security and custodial services at the provincial court location.
Gowanlock was seconded in June 2002 to the Ministry of Public Safety & Security Justice Technology Sector as the police liaison to the Video Remand Project, implemented to reduce the number of incarcerated offenders transported to court by providing video links between correctional facilities, police and courts.
During her two-year assignment to this project, she travelled extensively throughout Ontario, promoting the concept of video hearings to justice stakeholders. She also monitored legislative changes affecting the use of video in courts, liaised with police agencies, courts and Corrections to help develop policies and procedures to address video-conferencing, identified concerns specific to various jurisdictions, and was part of the Working Remand Committee, providing input to senior policy advisers for the creation of a cabinet submission outlining the increasing problem of overcrowding in Ontario’s correctional facilities.
A lot of the work she does is behind the scenes, but it is critical in ensuring that our systems work properly and that we achieve positive results
The project was highly successful and Gowanlock was recognized with a Chief’s Award for reducing the number of prisoners transported in Toronto by 150 daily.
At the end of the secondment, she assumed responsibility for the Document Services Section, overseeing more than 50 staff responsible for serving summons, subpoenas and other court documents. While there, she was part of the Service’s Disclosure Project team that successfully prevented the withdrawal of Public Prosecution Service of Canada cases by developing an efficient method of gathering and reporting timelines, providing information that accurately reflected the degree of officer compliance with disclosure rules, and developing a system that allowed case managers access to case status information as well as providing a monthly status report for unit commanders.
Gowanlock helped develop a new model that ensured the timely communication of bail information to victims of crime in high-risk threshold offence categories, oversaw the response to the Auditor General Review of Court Services in 2007 and co-created the Court Services G8/G20 planning team in 2010 that was mandated to devise a multi-faceted plan encompassing the processing of offenders from the time of arrest to release as well as the preparation of work schedules for Court Service members.
Gowanlock is now part of the Service’s Disclosure Working Group, established to identify the issues and concerns surrounding the recent R. v Jordan decision and the hard-line presumptive ceiling for criminal cases to reach conclusion at court, the Video Bail project, In-Car Cameras-prisoner transportation and the Criminal e-intake which is an electronic submission of information to Justices of the Peace.
She’s also working on the TPS Records Management 7.5 upgrade to co-ordinate and execute the Service’s Versadex RMS software from version 7.3.
Inspector Brian Preston, the Court Services unit commander, said Gowanlock exceptional work deserves recognition.
“A lot of the work she does is behind the scenes, but it is critical in ensuring that our systems work properly and that we achieve positive results,” he pointed out. “Her work also assists greatly with the Transformational Task Force changes that will be coming up in the future.”
Susan Walker-Knapper prepared the nomination submission.
“Carol has been working for an extended period of time doing outstanding work that has contributed in a significant way to law enforcement and her colleagues,” said Walker-Knapper. “She has developed and implemented innovative and successful programs and projects and continues to work at an extremely high level.”
Gowanlock was also nominated in the Excellence in Performance category.
Several TPS uniformed and civilian members were nominated in the other categories.
Sergeant Jodi Mitchell and Constables Andrea Dagonas and Cory Butler were nominated in the Community Service Award category; Staff Sergeant Stacy Clarke, Detective Constable Janelle Blackadar, Tracy Finn and Iryna Nebogatova were nominated for a Leadership Award and 23 Division Detective Bronagh Fynes was nominated for an Excellence in Performance Award.
The Project Guardian/Sex Crime Human Trafficking team was among six contenders for the Team Endeavours Award.