OREM, Utah (ABC4) — The Utah Valley University Police Academy hit a record for female graduates this year. According to the UVU Police Academy Director John McCombs, seven out of 28, or 25%, of graduates in their recent class were women. This is the highest number the academy has seen since it started in 1996.

The national number of female officers is 13 percent. McCombs said that it’s important to have more women in the police force to provide different experiences and perspectives that can connect with more people.

“It’s good to see diversity. The more diversity law enforcement has, the better we are as a whole,” he remarks. “Females deal with conflict, and conflict resolution, differently than a male, and it’s great to see a higher percentage in this career path.”

Natali Griffin, a Utah County mom of four, was a part of that graduating class.

“It was a good experience to have so many other people with similar age ranges, demographics, life experiences. I think it made the experience better just knowing there were other people like me going into this career,” said Griffin.

She now works with the Lone Peak Police Department. She shared that two kind female police officers helped her once, and the way they responded to the situation inspired her.

“That was the first time I interacted with a female officer… I felt like she understood me in a way I hadn’t experienced before, and I wondered why there are not more women in law enforcement,” she added.

McCombs said that women have a more profound impact as communicators, de-escalating intense situations and helping female victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Women have a different way of looking at things, analyzing things, and coming up with solutions. They also have a different way of approaching the situation or approaching people,” he states.

In her work, Griffin said she’s seen how often children are more receptive to women officers. She also said that her ambition to join law enforcement came from a desire to help others.

“Even if it’s just the way that you talk to someone or that you greet them, or the way that you finish a traffic stop, we can interact with the community in a way that they feel respected and that we are doing our job to help them is my goal in law enforcement,” she said.