I have received several emails from women wanting to be police officers and they all have the same question: does their size matter? Listen ladies, this is the one time size does not matter.
For most law enforcement testing standards, we all have to pass the same physical agility test, no matter our gender or size. I am 5’1 and have been doing this job for over twenty years. Everyone I encounter is larger than me. I have been on countless calls alone; engaged in too many fights to count; and verbally challenged more than I care to remember. Most of the time, it can be an advantage to be a smaller female officer, as we can appear to be less intimidating than our larger male counterparts. Women can be more calm and are generally less angry. In my experience, this can sometimes have a calming effect on a subject where I am able to de-escalate the situation and resolve it peacefully without force.
Although our smaller size can cause some challenges, these can be easily fixed through additional training in those identified areas or with a change of equipment. Because we tend to have smaller hands, we may need to test and shoot several handguns to find the correct one to fit our hand size. Also, because of our smaller size, we may not have the same physical strength, which could potentially affect our tactical ability. However, with specialized defensive training we can overcome that obstacle too.
Some other important factors to keep in mind, is to be proficient in our verbal skills and to stay physically fit. Because we are smaller, we need to rely on our other strengths and attributes. The most important piece of advise I can give you is to always be confident, speak with authority, and have a strong officer presence.
Stay safe ladies!