The actual number of women in law enforcement is small compared to amount of men in the field. But a big group of those women are in Syracuse for a special conference. It's called the Women in Law Enforcement Training Conference. Our Iris St. Meran talked with some of them about their future in the profession and how they hope to increase their numbers in agencies they represent.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Within their respective police agencies, these women only make up a fraction of the force. But this week in Syracuse at the annual Women in Law Enforcement Conference, there's strength in numbers.
Onondaga County Sheriff's Office Police Captain and conference chair Paula Pellizzari said, “It's a great chance to network with other women in the law enforcement profession and provide training and leadership and mentoring opportunities to our members."
Syracuse Police Deputy Chief Rebecca Thompson has been in the department for 26 years. She acknowledges the numbers are still low in almost all agencies across the state, but also says over the years women have worked hard to eliminate the double standard.
Thompson said, "I think that most people realize there is a place for women in law enforcement and they appreciate it once they do have a good officer who responds. It doesn't matter what gender they are."
There are approximately 469 officers in the Syracuse Police Department and 57 of those are women. There isn't a police academy happening right now, but Deputy Police Chief Thompson says there are things women can do in the meantime if they want to get involved in the profession.
"While you're waiting to take that civil service test or hear back from an agency, I would advocate to keep in school, get a degree in one of the programs and get involved in your local agencies, there's a lot of internships, a lot of volunteer work just to get your foot in the door," said Thompson.
The founders of the conference say these women who already have gotten through that door are inspiring a younger generation.
This is the third year of the conference. Each year it's held in a different part of the state. Nearly 150 women participated this year.