1st-Ever Campaigns Launched in Minnesota to Recruit Female Police Officers

April 22, 2018 11:01 PM

They are among Minnesota's most wanted.

They being, women.

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More women are wanted in law enforcement statewide. A number of agencies have launched first-ever recruitment campaigns. Some have produced video's that appear on Facebook or YouTube. Others are sending female police officers to neighborhood meetings in their towns to drum up interest. 

In St. Paul, roughly 14 percent of the force is female. That's higher than both the state and national average, and it's not enough according to Deputy Chief Mary Nash. 

She is second in charge at the department but is leading the crusade to fire up other women to join her by pointing out the sense of service.

"We are seeing people in their moments in life where it's a critical juncture for them," she said.

Nash has been on the force for 29 years. She's worked patrol on the street, crisis negotiations, domestic violence and over time, climbed the ranks to Deputy Chief.  She understands how to fight crime along with the stigma of a career in blue. 

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"It is a tough environment but being able to go out into the community and have those courageous conversations and know we have some places to grow, but it's rewarding, people do appreciate what we do," Nash said, "and they will hold us accountable when we need to be."

The Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training is the agency that tracks gender statewide. 

For the year 2018, it says there are 1,252 women wearing law enforcement uniforms compared to 9,549 men. 

Hassan Yusef is a St. Paul resident and has noticed: "When you look at law enforcement it's male dominated so to see more diversity that represents our society is a good thing."  

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At a community gathering that supports non-violence Nash emphasized, "Any given day 80 to 90 percent of what we is talking with people and trying to help them through whatever problem is going on in their world at the moment. We can only change the climate by getting females into law enforcement by the sense of service and then they can get out to the community and break down barriers."

A study by the Pew Research Group showed women are less likely to use physical force and more likely to use words to defuse conflict.  Plus, they are named far less often than male officers in excessive force complaints or legal settlements, saving cities taxpayer dollars. 

Credits

Beth McDonough

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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