women in technology and law enforcement
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Leadership View: Women Make a Difference in Law Enforcement and Technology

Authored by Tanisha Adams, Head of Product

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been honored to speak at the Fleurix conference for Women+ in Technology and attend the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) breakfast at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference. During the Fleurix conference, I had the opportunity to meet and connect with many women forging their path in technology. At the NAWLEE breakfast, I had the honor of meeting, shaking hands, and sharing hugs with female officers, researchers, Police Chiefs, and Assistant Police Chiefs from around the country. During both, we heard from strong women in their fields who inspired and confirmed why we had chosen our respective paths toward making a difference and serving. Let me share a little about each organization.

National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)

NAWLEE is the first organization established to address the unique needs of women holding senior management positions in law enforcement; it is non-profit and administered directly by law enforcement practitioners. The mission is to serve the interests of women who are executives or aspire to be executives in law enforcement. “Lead Inspire Mentor.” 

Fleurix (fleurixconf.com)

Fleurix supports women+ in technology via affordable and assessable community-driven events. The goal is to increase diversity and growth in technology in welcoming environments for high schoolers, veterans, and all those in between. 

Learnings & Takeaways

I noticed a couple of common threads during both events worth mentioning.

First, “women support women,” especially in fields where we are in the minority. Secondly, male supporters were also in the room, which is both appreciated and needed. I’m thankful for the male support and encouragement I receive at CivicEye from our CEO and throughout all departments within our company. We are in these professions together and working toward the same goals. When a company or agency values its women’s input, decisions, and contributions, it speaks to its fabric and the vast opportunities ahead.  

I learned at the NAWLEE breakfast that:

  • Women still face “the glass ceiling” of salary disparities and promotional opportunities.
  • Stigmas are still associated with tattoos, hairstyles, and other non-traditional and non-important aspects of people.
  • Another explanation for CPR is “Committed, Persistent, Resistant,” as stated by Chief Vera Bumpers, which I loved hearing.

We know that community trust in law enforcement is at an “all-time low.” We have the power to change this if we all work together. The UK isn’t experiencing the same level of community mistrust in law enforcement as is seen in the US and there are some notable differences.

  • In the US, 13% of full-time law enforcement employees are female, and nearly 87% are male, vs. the UK, where 33% of police constables in England and Wales are female and nearly 67% are males.
  • Research from seven major U.S. police agencies documented women officers are substantially less likely than their male counterparts to be involved in problems of excessive force, as noted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security (GIWPS).
  • Based on an article from Sciencenews.org, female officers made 7% fewer arrests than male peers and used force 28% less often.

Why is this information important?

It tells us that there is more than one way to do the same thing. If women can arrest less, what are they doing differently? How are they able to use less force on a regular basis? This data suggests that adding women to our agencies and law enforcement will improve trust within the communities served. With improved trust comes better communities where law enforcement and communities can work together to keep each other safe. This is a great opportunity for conversation and collaboration on de-escalation tactics, and how female law enforcement approach situations differently and successfully.   

Women drive through the challenges in law enforcement and technology because of their passion for making a difference in their communities and companies and being a positive example to others. Young girls will continue on the STEM path as they see more women in technology. It’s like television in that it’s easier to see yourself doing “a thing” if you see expressions and examples of it already realized in those who look like you. #fleurix22 

I was humbled when I looked around both rooms and saw so many strong women. We all had different journeys to technology or law enforcement. However, I assure you our presence, strength, and mission were because of a fearless resilience to answer a call to service in technology and law enforcement without an option of failure.   

I encourage everyone who reads this article to self-evaluate whether you have helped or hindered a woman in her mission, determination, and purpose toward a male-dominated career. 

If you have helped and supported us, “We thank you.” If you realize you have hindered or remained neutral, I challenge you to take a stronger, more positive path toward mentorship, support, and understanding that a woman’s presence, participation, and leadership will only propel the vision of your company or agency forward in a positive way.

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