A Delta police officer has earned international kudos for going above and beyond in her time with the department.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recently announced this year’s “40 Under 40,” recognizing individuals from around the world who exemplifying leadership, dedication and service to their communities and the law enforcement profession.
Among this year’s award winners is DPD Sgt. Kaitlyn (Katie) Garcia.
Since joining the Delta Police Department in 2012, Garcia had worked as a patrol officer (where she became the primary field trainer for recruit constables on her shift), an undercover operator and drug expert, and a detective constable, receiving three deputy chief commendations “for her command triangle roles in operations related to a large-scale drug project targeting a gang chapter,” according to a bio posted to the IACP website.
In 2022, Garcia became the acting sergeant for the DPD’s major crimes section, where within her first 60 days she successfully navigated her first homicide investigation as both the sergeant and primary investigator. She was promoted to sergeant earlier this year.
“Katie has consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence, displaying outstanding leadership attributes and dedication to her colleagues and community. Her exceptional ability to collaborate, take initiative for major projects and willingness to share knowledge has helped the DPD grow. Her exceptional work is positively changing the culture of policing,” the department said in a press release.
As a member of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, Garcia is an advocate and an ally for diversity initiatives. She recently founded the DPD’s Proud Initiative, which provides an inclusive environment to support the department’s 2SLGBTQI+ members while increasing positive police connections with Delta’s 2SLGBTQI+ community.
“Her lived experience as a 2SLGBTQI+ community member has been instrumental in driving positive change both internally and externally,” the department said.
Garcia also co-designed and implemented the DPD’s first-ever formalized mentorship program, which aims to establish a collaborative work environment through mentorship and provide both personal and professional development for all members of the department.
“Katie exemplifies the strength and courage that it takes to be a Delta police officer. Her unwavering commitment to her values is a prime example of why the DPD continues to deliver excellence in policing,” Mayor and Delta police board chair George Harvie said in a press release.
In addition to her duties with the DPD, Garcia is also part of the British Columbia Women in Law Enforcement, where she is now in her second term as a board member and serves as a mentor for women in law enforcement across the province.
“I have never lost sight of the importance of opening the door for those who will come behind me, and so I remain committed to doing the hard, sometimes uncomfortable, work,” Garcia said in her bio on the IACP website.
Garcia grew up in Delta, and began volunteering with the DPD in high school after connecting with her school liaison officer. She went on to obtain an undergraduate degree in sociology and an associate degree in criminal justice, and played NCAA Division I softball.
In her off-duty time, Garcia volunteers in the community as a softball, baseball and soccer coach.
The 2023 40 Under 40 winners come from seven of the IACP 170 member countries — Canada, the United States, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, England, Indian and Bahrain.
Other local winners this year are Sgt. Kaleigh Paddon with the Surrey Police Service, and Sgt. Raj Jaswal with the Vancouver Police Department.