More women pursuing careers in law enforcement

Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 8:44 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The law enforcement field has long been perceived as a male dominated industry.

New data from Chippewa Valley Technical College shows more women are seeking careers in law enforcement.

The spring 2017 law enforcement academy class at CVTC had 17 students and only one of them was a woman, that’s not even 6%of the overall class.

Fast forward four years, the spring class this year has 22 students with eight of them, more than a third of the class, being women.

When it comes to getting a job after graduation, the number of women being hired is also increasing.

“For our department, we have seen more officers get hired with the Eau Claire Police Department,” says Riley McLennan with the Eau Claire Police Department. “There’s been a handful more that have been hired since I’ve been working here as well.”

McLennan has been with ECPD for five years, and she says it’s encouraging to see more women pursuing the profession.

“I think it’s great that there’s more involvement of females going into law enforcement. I hope that gives females more interest in going into law enforcement, even starting at girls of a young age for that too.”

She says women help bring a unique set of skills to the department.

“There are victims in certain cases that can establish a better rapport with female officers and just having a different set of communication skills and tools to help officers on other calls as well.”

When it comes to law enforcement training programs, women are also making inroads.

This semester, 36% of the students enrolled in the Law Enforcement Academy at CVTC are women. That is more than triple the rate in spring 2019.

“It is encouraging to us to have this increase and see this increase of women because it is extremely important that the police department, law enforcement in general, represent the community, represent the diversity of a community,” says CVTC Director of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Eric Anderson.

Anderson has been an instructor for CVTC’s criminal justice program for over 15 years, but before that he was a police officer in Madison, where he started to see the shift in diversity first hand.

“At one point in my career, my sergeant, my lieutenant, and my captain were all women in the city of Madison.”

Of the 22 students now enrolled in this spring’s class, eight of them are women.

Lauren Phillips of the Superior Police Department is one of those students and says part of her motivation is to set an example for the younger generation.

“I think it is very important for all of us to show them that it can be done and what we can do.”

A new generation of recruits, inspiring other young women to follow in their path.

Of the eight women enrolled, two are Eau Claire Police Department recruits.

Three of them made history in the Superior Police Department, being the first recruiting class at the department to be all women.

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