DENVER – More women are pursuing a career in law enforcement in Colorado. Denver Police is currently training a police academy with 51 recruit officers. Of that number, 17 of them are women, making this recruitment class the largest number of women the department has ever seen.
"My great grandfather was a chief of police and then my cousin was going to law enforcement in Phoenix,” said Recruit Officer Chanee Lintel. "When law enforcement came in I was like that's it that's what I am going to devote myself to,” said Lintel.
"I felt like I was being called toward something more,” said Recruit Officer Jannika Ryan. Ryan came from a background in security, but like Lintel she knew from a young age that law enforcement was in her future.
"More and more females are realizing not only is it possible to be in law enforcement, but I can be successful,” said Ryan.
Having women as leaders in the department helps push that momentum forward.
"I just want women to know that this is an opportunity for them,” said Layla DeStaffany, Denver Police Sergeant and Recruit Training Supervisor. “It may not be something you were encouraged to do from a young age or thought you could see yourself doing when you were a girl, but things have changed, and policing is a little bit different,” said Sgt. DeStaffany.
Looking back at history, things were different for police departments.
"They wore skirts and small heels and I was thinking how could you do your job,” said Lintel. "They were delegated different tasks than men were even as police officers."
According to the National Center for Women and Policing, there are fewer women officers than men. Women make up 13% of the overall police force today.
"The way a man might be able to handle something a woman might not be able to do the same way, but they may be able to get the same result just using a different process,” said Ryan.
Recruit officers like Lintel and Ryan are hoping classes like theirs will change the stigma and encourage other young girls to chase their careers too.
"As more women start to make that decision that door is going to open wider and wider,” said Ryan.
Aurora and Colorado Springs are examples of other departments seeing an uptick in the number of women training in the police academies in Colorado as well.