No longer a man's world: the women behind the badge

No longer a man's world: the women behind the badge

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LUBBOCK -

It's not just a man's world anymore. The number of women in law enforcement is growing. Even though it's 2017, there's still a stigma about women wearing badges. There are three fearless women in our area that are proud to protect and serve. 

DPS Trooper Alex Dahl is only 22-years-old. 

"I went through recruit school at 20," she said. "I turned 21 the week before I graduated recruit school. So, I was the youngest trooper in the state for a little bit."

She has been with DPS for about a year and a half.  Dahl said being young and a female is both a blessing and a curse.

"I will walk up to a car and they will be like 'oh my gosh you are so cute,' or 'I could totally take that girl' type thing," she said. "We will see about that." 

Dahl said people today are more open-minded with women in law enforcement.

"I think it is getting better," she said. "I think it definitely still is. I get oh you are too young to be in highway patrol, or you are too pretty to be in highway patrol. I am like no, I'm not. I promise you. I am really not."

Lubbock police officer and full-time academy instructor Kimberlee Crain loves what she does. 

"This is what I was made to do and I was determined that I wasn't going to be turned away," she said. "I was going to get on it, I was going to work until I got where I wanted to be." 

Crain is one of nearly 40 female officers on the force. 

"I consider myself very fortunate that I am in law enforcement at this day in age because back then it was unacceptable for a women to do this job," she said. "And now it is very common place."

She said women bring a different style of policing to the job. 

"We put a lot more thought into how we do things, not saying that men don't," she said. "But, they get the job done and we're like how do we get done most efficiently for us. So, having that different style of policing, handle calls differently, sometimes more effectively." 

When it comes to speaking with victims, every officer gets special training.

"If you're a victim then you feel some sort of trauma and you have to speak to people that are traumatized by something or in crisis differently than you would just a normal person or a suspect or an arrestee," she said. "It requires a different type of finesse and women pick up on that much more easily because we are generally very conversational creatures." 

Deputy Sophia Jaramillio has worn her badge for 17 years. She's now an investigator with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office.

"I work persons crimes," she said. "So, I work with a lot of the domestics and the sexual assaults."

She said her job can be tough. 

"When it comes to dealing with children that is probably the toughest part, hearing the accusations and the stuff that they went through, because I have kids of my own," she said. "They are grown, but it is always harder when things are involving children than adults more."

Jaramillo's kids are proud of their tough mama. 

"They worry about mom, because being short," she said. "So, they worry about things happening, but they are proud of what I do."

When she first started as an officer on patrol, Jaramillo said she had to work hard and prove to others that she could handle it.

"Even still now, may be not as much since I am not on patrol, but I have had encounters where men because you are a woman and your size, that they can intimidate you," she said. "And they find out you can't."

She would love to see more women working right by her side.  She's the only female investigator, and said there's only one woman on patrol. 

"If you are really into it, make sure that you stick with your dream," Jaramillo said. "And don't let anybody tell you that you can't do it, because you can do whatever you want do."

"You have to have thick skin," Dahl said. "You have to be light-hearted, but be able to be serious on a moment's notice.  It definitely takes a certain type of person to go out here and do this every day.

"When I see a female come in," Crain said. "I want her to like the job like I do and work as hard as I do at the job."

If you would like to become an LPD officer, the department will have its next entrance exam on Saturday, October 7. For more information on salary and benefits, click here.

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