GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department hosted a recruitment event geared towards women on Saturday.
It was the first recruiting event of its kind hosted by the department, which currently has 44 female officers. The event was aimed towards women 18 years or older who have an interest in becoming a Grand Rapids police officer.
Lt. Maureen O’Brien, commander of the Community Engagement Unit, said women make up 14% of the department.
“If we want more women in our department and law enforcement, we have to be proactive and generate that interest,” O’Brien said. “For a long time, there has been a sentiment that law enforcement was a man’s field. I believe it’s a great field for women.”
Sgt. Cathy Williams says the goal of the event was to encourage qualified women in the Grand Rapids community to apply and overcome stereotypes.
“I think that our culture has always looked at law enforcement as a man’s profession,” Williams said. “(People think it’s) Dominated by men and you have to be some big, burly, strong man to hold your own. And you really don’t.”
A panel of female Grand Rapids officers, supervisors and command staff assigned to patrol and specialized units discussed their experiences during recruit training, as well as life as a Grand Rapids officer.
Guests had the opportunity to ask questions of the sworn personnel and representatives from the city’s human resources department.
Williams says those interested can still apply to the department, even if they missed Saturday’s event.
“There were no brownie points for today,” Williams said. “We don’t pick who we hire based on one attribute alone. It’s got to be the full package. We know that there are women out there that do have that full package, and we want to encourage them to apply to law enforcement.”
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