[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap]’VE COME ACROSS many true and very graphic stories of females in law enforcement over the twenty years that I wore the uniform, working vice, narcotics, sex crimes and patrol. I gratefully acknowledge those that were willing to work alongside female officers, however to those who make this career difficult through corruption among some male officers, sex on the job, theft of evidence, etc., I have no words..this is my story as it begins….
I couldn’t wait to get cut loose. I had been in training for eight weeks and tonight I was on my own, alone in my unit. I was nervous and could feel my heart pounding underneath the vest at the thought of my first call. I had been assigned to the north end of the city, possibly because it was less active, a place where a female rookie couldn’t possibly get into trouble.
As I cross-checked the loaded shotgun and kicked each tire, I sensed that something was going to happen tonight. I had always had that sixth sense. People use to say, including my (FTO’s) Field Training Officers, “ a cop should have a sixth sense, and it’s bound to save your life some day.
I pulled out of the back lot and looked to see that I had all I needed for this night’s shift work. I watched as cars passed me by, the drivers staring at the sight of a female behind the wheel of the patrol car, alone. I was the third female to come to this department, and only the second to make it to patrol.
Within ten minutes, I was away from the station and in the north end of the city. As the sun was going down, a call came out of a 415 (disturbance) at the gas station on Prospect and Chapman. I didn’t think much of it because I knew I was too far away, and it was not my area to respond, not even for backup unless all hell broke loose. There was silence, as the dispatcher echoed out 213, unit 213, a 415 at the corner of Prospect and Chapman involving an irate female possibly with a knife. I slowed down just to practice copying the address, as my former training officer instructed me to do each time a call came out, thinking, surely I would not get this call. I am too far away…. I heard the call go out again, this time to another unit. There was complete silence, no response.
My heart began to beat faster because I could feel that there were no immediate units available and then it came; 217?….. (“217”) was my call sign, and I responded, 217, 217, a 415 at the gas station, corner of Chapman and Prospect. I copied and advised that I was en route. As I pulled onto the freeway, I knew it would take me a few minutes, but I had the car at 70 mph in seconds, and before I knew it, I was off the freeway and pulling into the gas station. I could see the female approaching and in her hand I could see a switchblade. She had been reportedly throwing tires around, probably high on PCP. She was screaming obscenities. As I came around the backside of my unit, our eyes connected. I called for a back up, but before I could return the radio back to my belt, she was almost on top of me. This was biker chick that had been dumped off by one of the local motorcycle gangs, was twice my size and I could see she was on some kind of high. Without hesitation I drew my baton and hit her once across the upper body, an instinct that probably came from yesterday’s baton training. She went down and like a dream I rolled her over, taking her arms behind her, placing the handcuffs on. It happened so quickly that I was not aware of the crowd that had gathered, and in that crowd, I learned later was one of our off-duty Lieutenant’s. By the time the follow up officer arrived, my suspect was in custody.
My back up apologized for taking so long to respond, “ Traffic” he said.
It didn’t faze me then, but soon I woke up to the fact that the law enforcement field was one dominated by men. If a female officer needs back up, it may come late, or even not at all. They were testing me as I later learned. I vowed to never let them get the best of me…that was 30 years ago …