With talk of gender stereotypes and roles becoming more prominent in today’s progressive society, UCF Career Services held an event Thursday to help empower and encourage women to get involved in a traditionally male-oriented career — law enforcement.
UCF Career Services invited the Orlando Police Department to host a Women in Law Enforcement breakfast Thursday morning in the Career Services building, where female UCF students who are interested in a career in law enforcement could speak with current female police officers about what it’s like for them.
Six Orlando Police officers spoke with the 16 women in attendance about what the job entails, but also if being a woman has an effect on getting a job or working in law enforcement.
The three sworn female officers were ecstatic to share their personal experiences on what its like being a woman in law enforcement.
One officer in particular, Takela Young, is experiencing something only woman officers can — pregnancy.
Young is pregnant with her second child and is now on alternative duty working with recruiting. Although it may be hard, she said, she firmly believes that women can both have a family and be in law enforcement.
“There are many opportunities to move around to different departments where you don’t have to patrol and put yourself in any danger for your child and yourself,” Young said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
Morgan Holewinski, a junior accounting major, is considering a career in law enforcement with the intentions of being a state trooper.
“If my career in accounting doesn’t work out, I’d like to be a police officer,” Holewinski said. “Women are natural caregivers and make great police officers."
Orlando Police Sgt. Frank Chisari, the recruiting unit supervisor, explained that female police officers have certain natural characteristics that make them desirable for the job, and he is looking to recruit more female officers.
“As a progressive agency, we’d like to mirror the demographics of our community. Women make up a little more than 50 percent of our community, and we are very low as far as women coming into law enforcement,” Chisari said.
UCF has a similar situation. Only 15 percent of the sworn UCF officers are women, said UCF Police spokeswoman Courtney Gilmartin.
Young made it a point to tell the women in attendance to not shy away from law enforcement simply because they may be petite. She explained that appropriate training is given in how to handle situations with people who are angry and bigger than you.
She also added that she knows some female officers who are small and petite, but who are tough and know how to handle themselves in physical situations because of the training provided.
“Don’t be afraid of being a woman and being petite and working in this field,” Young said.
Marc Sznapstajler is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.