Does Size Really Matter?

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!

Boycott Beyonce

Hello family in blue,

Once again, there has been another attack on police officers, by a so-called entertainer. I am calling on an all out boycott on the race baiting Beyonce. I am disgusted with the hate, bigotry and racism shown towards us. Especially from a “famous” person (who doesn’t deserve to have her name mentioned again) who has no clue what it is like to walk in our shoes. Another person who has no idea what we see and do on a daily basis.

The audacity and hypocrisy from the piece of trash who not only expects, but demands the police to protect her and her family, all the while spewing hate at us. It is sickening! AND to air her hate and racism at one of America’s favorite sports, the Super Bowl halftime show. AND shame on the NFL for allowing a show of bigotry on national television. She used this as an opportunity to promote her latest song, “Formation”, to which she has no clue what the definition of a real formation means and represents to all of us in blue.

I don’t see her out there trying to promote peace and unity in the community, but instead, she is chooses to promote her new song through hate at police officers.

I challenge her to have the guts to leave the security of her luxury home in NYC and ride along for one shift with the NYPD or any other agency to witness the truth and not judge by her ignorant lack of knowledge. But I know she is a coward who judges from the sideline and will decline the challenge.

I urge everyone to boycott everything she does and presents. There are several on-line petitions circulating, please sign them. Write to the NFL and tell them what you think about their half time show. We all know what happened to Quentin Tarantino when he called us murderers. Let’s show her what family is and we all stand together.

***Since this post, there have has now been 7 more police officers murdered in just 7 days. This needs to stop.

Stay safe family in blue

New Years Eve

Hello Ladies, I hope all of my sisters in blue are doing well and had a fabulous holiday with their families. Like most of us, I had to work and our family waited to celebrate Christmas until my days off.

It’s been a little while since my last post and I sincerely apologize. This time of the year is super hectic in both work and family life. But, I feel it is important to remind all of us about safety concerns for New Years Eve. We all know with the recent terrorist attack in Paris, there has been much more chatter and the terrorism level has risen. I think this is a good time to remind all of us about the “Seven Signs of Terrorism”.

– Surveillance
– Information Gathering
– Testing Security
– Planning
– Suspicious Behavior
– Rehearsal
– Getting into Position

It does not matter if you are law enforcement in a small rural community, or a large metropolitan city. It can happen anywhere and New Years Eve is a prime target due to the large gathering of people celebrating and not paying attention to their surroundings. I will be working again as the Watch Commander this New Years Eve and will be on the streets with my squads. I will be praying for a safe event and I pray all of my officers and every officer in every agency will go home safe to their families. Let’s start out the new year safe.

Stay safe out there ladies!

Paris Attacks

None of us should be surprised or shocked about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Terrorists are training and planning everyday for their next attack, and they are knocking on our front door. We need to be prepared; we need to be vigilant; and we need to expect it to happen everyday when we go to work. Do not think it will not happen in your town or on your watch.

When this is a time when our President is trying to take away our weapons and equipment because it is his belief they “look” too militaristic to the public; well guess what Mr. President? This is the very reason we need it – Terrorists!

If your department does not provide the equipment you need, then find a way to get it for yourself. Have your department search for federal grants or look at government surplus websites to purchase the items needed. If your department does not supply you with the equipment you need to do your job and stay safe, then you must get it for yourself if you have to. Be as prepared and best equipped as you can be. Be well qualified and competent in your weapons and well versed in all of your equipment. Do not wait until it is too late to know where your equipment is or how to use it. Make sure it is within hands reach and easily accessible at all times.

On a personal note, be sure to keep your family informed on safety information, what to look for, how to be prepared, and how to stay safe in case of an attack or any other type of emergency situation. Have a family plan on where to meet and how to contact each other in case of an emergency.

It is our job to protect our communities and save lives. The only way we can do this is to be better prepared than the terrorists are planned. Our courage and conviction will always overcome their evil.

Keep your eyes open and stay safe ladies!

Quantico

When I mention Quantico, most people will now think of the new television show. This saddens me because Hollywood has once again portrayed law enforcement in another unfair and unrealistic form. The real Quantico in Virginia, is nothing like the fantasy television series. In fact, the show is not even filmed at the academy in Quantico, nor does it bear any resemblance to the historical, professional training academy it is supposed to represent. The television show portrays women as either a one night stand or a terrorist. In the first few minutes of the show, the female agent is drinking heavily on the airplane, meets a guy sitting next to her on the plane, and then they are having sex in the backseat of his car. Really?? Is this what Hollywood thinks of female law enforcement? Wake up, this is 2015. How about highlighting women in a positive light. Lets showcase women as intelligent, educated human beings with morals and integrity. Lets emphasis the important role women have in law enforcement. But, I guess that would not get the networks the high ratings they seek.

I had the honor and privilege of attending the National Law Enforcement Academy at Quantico. Participation in the academy is by invitation and nomination only. Approximately 250 law enforcement officers from around the world are selected to attend each session. We spent ten weeks enrolled in graduate and undergraduate courses on law, leadership, forensic and behavioral sciences, and physical fitness. We shared information, techniques, and best practices to benefit and enhance all law enforcement professions throughout the world.

The television show cheapens the integrity of the FBI program and demeans the accomplishment and experience to those who graduated from the program. It is television shows like this and others the reflect negatively on all law enforcement professionals. If Hollywood wants to make successful television shows, I would recommend they consult with a real law enforcement officer.

20 Years

Today marks my 20 year anniversary in law enforcement. It feels both monumental and melancholy all at the same time. Twenty years of doing what I love and being blessed to have survived unscathed (at least physically). Twenty years can seem like such a long time, yet it flew by. I still remember all of my firsts like they were yesterday. My first day at the academy. My first day in field training. My first day on my own. My first grave yard shift. My first officer involved shooting scene.

So many people told me to enjoy the time because it would go by fast, but I didn’t believe them. I usually don’t admit this, but they were right. Now that I am so close to retirement, they continue to tell me how quickly the last few years will go. I can only hope they are right again.

I have had many adventures and opportunities through out my career. I’ve been to many retirement celebrations and too many police officer funerals; just the highs and lows of life in law enforcement. People say to never look back, only look forward. But, I’m here to tell you to look back, remember, and reminisce. I look back everyday. I look back on my career and remember all of the assignments I was fortunate to have worked. I look back on all of the good days filled with happiness and laughter and forget the bad days of heartaches and tears. I will always remember the people whose lives I saved, and the ones I couldn’t. The cases I solved and the open ones that still haunt me. However, I do look forward. Most importantly, I eagerly look forward to the last few years of my law enforcement career before retirement.

A new beginning, a new adventure, and a new life with many new “firsts”.

An Educated Cop

When I first started at my agency, I didn’t have a college degree. I was only a few classes from earning my associate degree, but then stopped after getting hired. Life always got in the way of my desire to finish. My excuse was: I’m already hired and working, so I don’t need my degree in Criminal Justice.

After five years on the job, I knew I wanted to promote to sergeant. I decided that finishing my degree would help me advance my career, so I went back to college. It felt pretty weird getting back into the student groove, while simultaneously working and balancing my home life. I didn’t tell anyone at school I was a police officer. Especially not the instructors who called on me to lead class discussions. One of my instructors was a public defender for death penalty cases, and a hippy liberal. Our differences in opinions lead to many heated discussions.

I’m an over achiever with a slight case of OCD. I didn’t want to stop after I received my associate degree, so I strove forward towards getting a bachelors degree. Eighteen months later, I had one. This wasn’t enough for me. I enrolled back into college to get a masters degree. I thought about my professional future, and decided it would be the right move, and the right time, since I was already on an education kick. Fifteen months later, I graduated with my masters degree.

While I was studying for my masters, I was selected for the FBI National Academy (FBINA), in Quantico. It was a profound honor to be chosen, and no words can fully capture the excitement I felt. The only hiccup in attending was finishing up my masters degree. My academic timeline placed my thesis project right at the start of the FBINA academy. There was no way I could pass up the FBINA opportunity, so I went.

I was away from home for almost eleven weeks, leaving my husband, kids and dogs. It was difficult, but totally worth the sacrifice, and I would not trade the experience for the world. The knowledge I gained, and the friends I made from all over the world are immeasurable.

I’m writing about this to inspire, not brag. I hope to motivate anyone out there who has doubts that they can’t do it. Let this be your nudge towards accomplishing your goals. This is your motivation. Life will always get in the way and we can think of a million excuses why not. Your future is the one reason to do it.

What’s Going On

As I wrote in a previous topic, we all need to take care of our mental fitness. For me,  that means running; it’s the only way to relieve my stress. So, I got up early this morning so I could try to beat the heat, laced up my running shoes and put on my beats headphones.  I like to run alone, so I don’t have to talk to anyone and just think to myself and try to clear my head.  Funny though, I used to love to run with friends. I have all genres of music on my playlist to fit whatever mood I’m in that day.

While in the middle of my run, “What’s up” by Four Non Blondes, one of my favorite songs, started to play.  (Just a side note, “what’s up” is nowhere in the song.  The lyrics are “what’s going on”, but Marvin Gaye already had a song with that title). And, just like that it hit me, I had an epiphany.  I started singing  (actually sounded more like shouting) along with the lyrics, “what’s going on!) Although, I have sung along with this song a thousand times, it really hit me today and I totally connected to it.  What’s going on in this world today.  What’s going on with the police killings and ambushes.

And I cry when I’m lying in bed just to get it all out what’s in my head and I, I am feeling a little peculiar.  And so I wake in the morning and I step outside and I take a deep breath and I get real high. And I scream from the top of my lungs what’s going on?

The above is one of the verses from the song.  By the time I finished shouting out the song, I felt a sudden relief. Weird. I continued on for a few more miles and finished my run.  I felt refreshed and unusually calm.  Let’s see what today brings.

Anyone else feel connected to a song or how do you release your stress?

Stay safe ladies!

Chaos to Calm

Our work weeks are unlike most others.  Our minds are on constant high alert and our senses are heightened to an unimaginable level.  Our head is on an unstoppable 360 degree swivel like Linda Blair from The Exorcist.  By the end of the shift my mind feels like it’s been running on a gerbil wheel for ten hours.

How do we transition from the chaos of going call to call on the street to the calm of our home?  How do we stop wondering how someone can kill their own baby because they cried too much or rob and murder someone whose pockets were empty? It doesn’t make sense and maybe I should stop trying to make it; but I can’t.  We are hard-wired to find an answer or a reason.  Sometimes there isn’t one and I need to find a way to accept there may never be one.  I continuously try to leave work in the locker room and relax on my drive home.  But, once I crawl my weary body into bed and lay my head on the feather pillows, my mind won’t shut up.  Is this normal or just the “norm” for police officers.

Sometimes I wonder to myself if I even want calmness or if I know how to relax.  Sometimes the quiet is disturbing because it is too quiet; if that even makes sense.  I have to turn on the television and watch “The First 48” or “Cold Justice” or whatever other “cop” shows I recorded just so I can relax and fall asleep; it’s my white noise.

Under Attack

I am disgusted.  I am saddened.  I am heartbroken.

I am proud.  I am honored.  I am strong.  I am BLUE!

What the hell is going on in this country? Who thinks it is okay to randomly seek out and viciously kill a police officer without provocation? These ignorant cowards who hide behind the veil of a movement, therefore, believing that murder is warranted and justified by their insane cause.

I understand we signed up for this job and we are willing to risk our lives everyday when we put on this uniform and respond to the unknown. But, now we can’t feel safe pumping gas. We can’t feel safe eating at a restaurant on our dinner break. What the hell! We can’t even feel safe when we stop to help a stranded motorist on the side of the road without being attacked by the very person we stopped to help.  It’s just madness!

Last night, I was mentoring one of my female officers. We stopped for dinner and instead of choosing the restaurant by what we preferred to eat, I based my choice on what was best for our safety. We chose a restaurant that prepares the food in our view; ensuring no one spit in our food or placed a cockroach somewhere we couldn’t see. Like most cops, we always position our seating to watch the door.  But now, we have to sit in chairs next to each other, on the same side of the table, so we can see the entrance door. We positioned ourselves so we can watch our backs in the reflection of the glass window. Tell me what other professions have to do this?  Who else goes to work everyday and does not feel safe eating a meal?  What private citizen has to worry about being ambushed and gunned down while pumping gas because of what they are wearing?

The mother side of me wanted to tell her she is crazy for wanting to promote and continue to work the streets while we are being preyed upon. I wanted to persuade her to promote to detective instead and sit safely behind a desk, where she will be dressed in plain clothes , without a uniform as a target on her back.  However, the leader and mentor side of me wouldn’t let me. I know she is a great cop and belongs on the streets, protecting our community like the rest of the strong women in blue.  We will continue to serve and protect even those who hate us, those who spew angry death threats at us,  and those who wish us harm. We will continue to fight and persevere because that is who we are and what we stand for.

Stay  safe ladies!