After pondering the Internet on female police officers and their history, I came across an interesting article written by Richard Neil who is a retired city cop, but is currently an instructor for many of Ohio’s criminal justice training academies. Why did I find this article intriguing? For starters, it is so awesome to see a male representing us ladies in law enforcement (and writing an entire article about it)! In his article, Neil discusses how he was teaching a class to a group of cadets and a male cadet expressed how women should not be cops, and how females are not cut out for this line of work (yes, I was rather heated when I read that part). As I continued to read, Neil decided to give the class a history lesson about Ohio’s first female sheriff – Maude Collins (I dedicated an entire blog to her in my earlier posts). He then proceeded to tie in this beautiful piece of history to why indeed women should be female officers and illustrated the obstacles that Collins faced as a sheriff.
Just a brief piece of history: in 1925 Sheriff Fletcher Collins was out serving a warrant to a man who was wanted for a driving violation, and was tragically shot and killed by the wanted man – George Steele. Leaving 5 children and his wife behind, Maude was faced with the struggles of raising a family as a single mother. Just before deciding to leave the state of Ohio, Maude was ultimately made sheriff and carried on the duties her husband left behind.
Neil proceeds to explain that although Maude was a courageous woman, it was her communication and problem-solving skills that deemed her to be so successful in her profession. Neil writes about Maude’s success in solving a double-homicide case:
The cases would shock the community and draw the nation’s attention on the first female Sheriff of Ohio. She cleverly determined that the murderer had worn the victim’s shoes to leave misleading footprints at a crime scene. She explained her theory to her chief deputy and the county coroner. She noted that the impressions were not deep enough to be left by the heavy victim but could have been made by a lighter person wearing his shoes. Sheriff Maude subsequently persuaded the female she had suspected all along to confess to wearing the shoes of another, who had previously been the primary male suspect, thereby solving a double homicide and gaining national fame when the case was reported in Master Detective magazine.
Not only did she receive praise and attention around the nation, but Collins was an excellent communicator. “It has been shown that men generally have more physical strength than women, but study after study has shown that women are better communicators than men,” cites Neil. Females tend to be more observant and humans use communication skills far more than any other skill. Men may have greater physical abilities, but being an effective communicator truly matters. I’m not saying that either gender is right nor wrong for the law enforcement industry, but even as Neil agrees, it is about the officer as an individual. So no matter what gender you may be, being an officer is about proving your worth and keeping your community safe.
Definitely check out Richard Neil’s wonderful article at: http://lawenforcementtoday.com/tag/female-police-officers/