January 07, 2018 03:05 PM
A first of its kind event in St. Paul on Saturday encouraged women of all ages to look into a career in law enforcement.
The police department hosted a "Women in Uniform Recruitment" opportunity.
"Law enforcement was never on my mind," said Mailia Yaung, an officer with the St. Paul Police Department.
But growing up in a family with domestic abuse, Yaung says she was inspired to help others in need.
"It just gave me this ambition to be a part of the solution," Yaung said.
Now, just about a year into her career, Yaung is inspiring other young women.
"I didn't really have that when I was that age. The resources really help and having someone who is a female in this stereotypical, male-dominated world, you don't know if you want to do that," Yaung said.
The St. Paul Police Department has just more than 90 female officers, about 16 percent of the entire force.
"In recent years those numbers have dropped. Our last test last year, we had a real low number of women that took our entry-level police test," Dep. Chief Mary Nash said.
Nash said in the 90s there was a boom with female officers. She believes the recent national narrative of police impacts the numbers.
"Generating that interest and getting women into the pipeline to become police officers is really important," Nash said.
"A lot of the things that are portrayed now are guns and violence; that's not really what it's about," Yaung said.
Fresh into her new career, Yaung is thrilled with her new path. She says seeing new faces that could one day be colleagues keeps her motivated.
"It's really gratifying," Yaung said. "It makes me feel like I have a purpose."
Updated: January 07, 2018 03:05 PM
Created: January 06, 2018 11:59 AM
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