Wisconsin Association of Women Police supports effort to increase number of women in the force
The Wisconsin Association of Women Police (WAWP) has been supporting female law enforcement officers in the state for 40 years. Currently, only about 10% of officers in Wisconsin are female and women only make up 3% of leadership positions. The WAWP is endorsing a national initiative that hopes to boost the percentage of women in police recruiting classes by 30% by the year 2030.
Appleton Police Lieutenant Meaghan Cash is the Vice President of WAWP. She says,"I feel that there are just inherent skills that women oftentimes can bring to the table that may be different than our male counterparts."
Lt. Cash says in order to get more women police officers, departments need to examine their recruiting and hiring processes and eliminate any barriers that might prevent women from joining the force, like size or height requirements. She adds that equal pay will lead to better retention at a time when there is a high demand for law enforcement officers.
On April 8th police officer Emily Breidenbach and fellow officer Hunter Scheel were killed in a shootout while serving a warrant at a traffic stop in Western Wisconsin. The driver of that car was also killed.
"We make up such a small percentage of law enforcement as a whole that it's just extra heartbreaking to see something like this happen because there are so few of us that exist within law enforcement," Lt. Cash says of Officer Breidenbach's death.
When asked what kind of impact the death of Officer Breidenbach's might have on recruiting female officers, Lt. Cash says, "I think when we see something like this happen — where we we lose members of law enforcement to tragedy like this — it's definitely going to impact decisions that those future officers may make if they want to choose to go into law enforcement."