SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) -Women in law enforcement face a lot of challenges especially when they rise to leadership positions.
Utah Women in Law Enforcement hosted a two day training conference Tuesday and Wednesday to address those issues.
Female law enforcement employees from across the state gathered here at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office for a two day training called Women In Command.
Sergeant Richelle Bradley of the Salt Lake City Police Department is the President of UWLE.
“As leaders in the law enforcement community we also have to learn to lead our male counterparts,” Sgt. Bradley said. “Also most people don’t realize it’s difficult for us to lead other females counterparts…Females are supposed to be soft, kind, gentle, touchy-feely and as a female leader in a law enforcement profession, you cannot be. You have to be strong. You have to be tough but how are you perceived by your peers.”
Instructor Cyndy Velazquez is the Deputy Chief of the Lombard, Illinois Police Department and says the job takes and emotional toll.
“It’s not normal what we see and what we’re exposed to on a daily basis and certainly that has its effect over time,” Deputy Chief Velazquez told News4Utah. “And the emotional aspect of law enforcement of getting help, of reaching out to employee assistance programs, seeking out peer support, it’s more acceptable for males and females to reach out for that help.”
And more acceptable to express their feelings on duty,
“Is crying OK?,” Sgt. Bradley said. “We are all human beings. We all respond to the circumstances we get sent out to. Do we cry after death notifications? Do we cry after seeing a child that has been deceased in an accident. Is that OK? And we’re learning it is.”
Attendees also discussed the importance of networking and supporting one another.