By James Sandberg
Sergeant Katie Garcia of the Delta Police Department (DPD) is far from your typical law enforcement officer. Her exceptional dedication and accomplishments have garnered her recognition on the global stage. In September 2023, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) honored Katie with their prestigious Top 40 Under 40 award.
The IACP’s annual award program shines a spotlight on 40 outstanding law enforcement professionals under 40 worldwide. These individuals exemplify leadership and unwavering commitment to their profession. With its vast membership spanning 170 countries and 33,000 members, the IACP sets a high bar for this achievement, evaluating candidates based on their demonstrated values, dedication to law enforcement, and leadership prowess.
Katie’s dedication to inclusivity extends beyond the realm of Pride, as it has helped break down other perceived barriers, including those along ethnic lines. The understanding and culture shift within the agency has strengthened acceptance across all divides.
Katie’s journey began in Delta, British Columbia, where she attended school and first connected with the DPD. High school marked the beginning of her volunteer work with the department, partly thanks to her rapport with her School Liaison Officer. After high school, Katie pursued her education at the University of Wisconsin on an athletic scholarship, excelling in softball and acquiring an undergraduate degree in sociology and an associate degree in criminal justice. In 2012, she officially joined the ranks of the DPD.
Throughout her career with the DPD, Katie’s trajectory has led her through various sections, including Patrol, the Drug Section, and the Major Crimes Section. She’s been instrumental in field training team leadership. Her promotion to Sergeant in early 2023 is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence, exemplary leadership qualities, and dedication to her colleagues and community. Katie’s remarkable capacity for collaboration, taking initiative on significant projects, and her willingness to share knowledge have significantly contributed to the growth of the DPD. They are reshaping the culture of policing for the better.
It is Katie’s extraordinary initiatives that truly set her apart. As an active member of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, she serves as an advocate and ally for diversity initiatives. Katie’s experiences have enriched her voice and deepened her commitment to creating a better community. She co-founded the DPD’s Proud Initiative, a driving force behind fostering an inclusive environment for the department’s 2SLGBTQI+ members while building positive bridges between the police department and the 2SLGBTQI+ community across Delta. Launching the initiative took specific courage for Katie as she had to “come out” in a very public setting and in a police uniform, truly solidifying Katie as a leader. Her work has helped ease the historical divide between law enforcement agencies and the Pride community in the region, ushering in a new era of acceptance.
It is Katie’s extraordinary initiatives that truly set her apart. As an active member of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, she serves as an advocate and ally for diversity initiatives. Katie’s experiences have enriched her voice and deepened her commitment to creating a better community.
Katie’s dedication to inclusivity extends beyond the realm of Pride, as it has helped break down other perceived barriers, including those along ethnic lines. The understanding and culture shift within the agency has strengthened acceptance across all divides. She represents the DPD on the executive board of the British Columbia Women in Law Enforcement (BCWLE), a non-profit organization committed to advancing women in law enforcement in the province.
Moreover, Katie also played a pivotal role in establishing the DPD’s inaugural formalized mentorship program to cultivate a collaborative work environment through mentorship. This program fosters personal and professional development for all DPD members, allowing officers to actively engage in their own growth, chart their ideal career paths, enhance their leadership skills, and improve overall performance, directly impacting day-to-day policing in the city.
George V. Harvie, Chair of the Delta Police Board and Mayor of Delta, commended Katie’s exemplary dedication, stating, “Katie exemplifies the strength and courage required of a Delta Police officer. Her unwavering commitment to her values is a prime example of why the DPD continues to excel in policing. On behalf of Delta Council and the Delta Police Board, congratulations and thank you for your continued dedication to keeping our community safe.”
Katie’s active involvement and unwavering commitment to these projects have nurtured a positive, compassionate, and inclusive culture within the DPD and the community at large.
As if her professional and community work were not enough, Katie also volunteers as a baseball coach and a soccer coach in her precious off-duty time, balancing these responsibilities with her role as a partner and a parent to two children. The IACP’s “40 Under 40” recognition bestowed on Katie could not have been awarded to a more deserving candidate. Lead on, Katie, lead on.