Political activists vying to bring more women into law enforcement

Women in law enforcement

POCATELLO, Idaho - Tonight some local political activists are teaming up with the Pocatello Police Department to hold a seminar encouraging more women to enter into the police force.

They said women make up a small portion of southeast Idaho's law enforcement officers since many women are afraid of going through the physically-demanding application process.

However, those who work in the field claim there's nothing to be afraid of.

"First you have to take a civil service exam, which you have to pass with a 70 percent or higher before you then take a physical fitness test which is actually pretty easy," Pocatello P.D. training coordinator Sgt. Tim Dillon said.

After the physical fitness test, applicants have to go through a series of medical and psychological exams. Once everything is successfully completed, the dept. performs background checks on the applicants.

"The field is really only one percent physical," Dillon said. 

The other 99 percent, he said, is verbal.

"We've done a pretty good job hiring women, but we're definitely disproportionate. There are a lot more men working here than women."

Currently, there are only six women working at the Pocatello Police Dept., since it has been a struggle to get more women to apply.

Officer Shannon Bloxham was one of two women recently hired on to the force, and she said in her test group of about 50 people, only five of them were women.

Luckily, she said she doesn't get too many comments herself, but she knows other female officers who struggle with the daily comments from the civilians they come into contact with.

"I mean, it's hard to avoid; it's not very often you see a woman in law enforcement, a woman truck driver, or even a woman mechanic, so when you see an anomaly, of course you're going to make a comment about it," Bloxham said.

Dillon said he is seeing a slight increase in the amount of women interested in pursuing this career path over the years.

But, it's not just the Pocatello P.D. facing this issue.

Tonight, these activists will hold a free seminar which will be open to the public. It starts at seven o'clock and will take place in the Idaho State University Law Enforcement Program building. 

The Idaho Falls workshop will be held Friday, March 28 from noon until two o'clock at the Idaho Falls Law Enforcement Training complex. 

The Rexburg workshop will take place on Saturday, March 29 from one o'clock until three at the Rexburg Police Dept. Training Room.

Here is a list of the local law enforcement agencies who are participating:

Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman, Rexburg Mayor Richard Woodland, Ucom Police Chief James Walker, Rigby Mayor Jason Richardson, Idaho Falls Police Chief Mark McBride, Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper, Bonneville County Sheriff Paul Wilde, Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand, Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen, and Inkom City Police Chief Cal Edwards.

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