Coronado’s Female Law Enforcement Officers Are Setting An Example For Others To Follow - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Coronado’s Female Law Enforcement Officers Are Setting An Example For Others To Follow

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Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2019 3:48 pm

Female police officers have been around since 1891 when Chicago employed the first females, according to Wikipedia. In 1908, the city of Long Beach introduced female officers to California. Relevant statistics were stale at best on all the web sites, with Wikipedia stating, “Women in law enforcement in the United States represent roughly a tenth of all law enforcement officers in the United States.” None the less, the rise in numbers of females working alongside male police officers has been steady but slow. Not until the passing of an anti-discriminatory act in 1972 did hiring females for police duty become acceptable. At that time “the number of female police cops in any given United States police department was steady at about 2 percent.”

Coronado is forward thinking in many ways, and none more so than in its police force. The percentage of female officers is around 26.2 percent and expected to rise. That number exceeds statistics for other San Diego cities or the average for the nation. While the number of male police officers far outweighs the number of females, women are making an inroad in the predominately male profession, with the percentage rising three to four percent every ten years.

Female officers interviewed for this article are comfortable in their jobs, feeling they are accepted and no longer need to actively “prove themselves.” Although research indicates the problem still exists in many areas, they indicated no feeling of gender discrimination, and comments from male officers reflected admiration and respect for their fellow female officers. One male police officer said, “We have the cream of the crop, highly educated, skilled female officers.”

The four officers interviewed are veteran officers having been in police work from 24 to 14 years, gaining experience outside Coronado before joining the local force. They take their job seriously and embody the Calvin Coolidge quote posted in one of their meeting rooms: “No one is compelled to choose the profession of police officer, but having chosen it, everyone is obligated to perform its duties and live up to the high standards of its requirements.”

Officer Sherry Mannello was a deputy sheriff in Orange County for 12 years and has been in local enforcement for 10 years. She stressed that the requirements in the academy to qualify for police officer in both physical fitness and mental expectations is the same for everyone. Mannello, who stated that “being a police officer is a career not just a job,” emphasized that in Coronado, besides responding to traffic and crime incidents, officers are often “caretakers out in the field.” They have the time to help the handicapped and respond to calls of service, but their job involves much more. Each officer is a trainer and mentor to other officers and has the responsibility of educating the public since the laws change continually. She previously led the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistant Education and Training) program in the local schools.

The wife of a Navy Seal for 20 years and the mother of a 7 year-old boy, Mannello said motherhood did give you a “heightened security of awareness.” “Going home at the end of the day became more important.” Since police work is a 24/7 work organization, celebrations for birthdays and holidays may be delayed, but that holds true for many professions. While she and her husband share parenting responsibilities, Mannello lauded the department for working with parents during emergencies.

Danielle Adams, who was a police officer in National City where she was one of only three females out of a total of 85 officers, has been with Coronado eight months. A mother of a 4 year-old son, she sees her job as being “a presence in the community, filling in where needed, talking at schools, and taking care of any problems.” When she started 13 years ago, “It was old school. Male officers felt females should not be police officers, but their work showed their abilities.” However, she never felt she had to prove herself but “made sure I fell into line and fulfilled requirements.” Coronado, unlike fast-paced National City, allows more time for community relations, “to meet and greet” residents and get to know them. With no negatives to working in Coronado, Adams appreciates the pleasant atmosphere.

With two years in Orlando and one year in Rialto, Corporal Jacqueline Hurtado has been in Coronado 11 years. Her husband is in the border patrol. With both parents in law enforcement, their 7 year-old daughter is very proud of what her parents do. Now the parents work the same shifts and have normal hours, but in the beginning the four 10-hour days and different shifts required support for childcare.

In college Hurtado majored in Public Administration with a minor in Criminal Justice. She never saw herself as a police officer, but she “fell into it.” Searching for job opportunities on the Orlando city web site, she noticed they were hiring police officers, so she applied “to see what would happen.” After she got into an investigation unit, things became more interesting. “Seeing the case all the way through is satisfying.”

Hurtado mentioned the surprising number of thefts in Coronado: cars, bikes, and construction thefts. In many cases she works with officers from other districts with good results. While she has no regrets in choosing law enforcement, she does have frustrations “getting the DA to prosecute cases.” Following small leads, re-interviewing people, being aware of every intricacy to procure the necessary evidence are part of the job. Also, she commented on the necessity to “watch what you say” to not be misinterpreted, especially with the use of body cameras.

Introduced to police work in the Explorers, Detective Amy Beebe has been with Coronado for four years after 10 years in Turlock. Being a police officer was her childhood goal, “the closest thing to being a super hero.” Being the first police officer in her family may have started a trend since her younger cousin now works in a prison. Married to a State Park Ranger in Search and Rescue, Beebe is used to missed holiday celebrations, but she “wouldn’t do anything else.”

The best thing about her job is “solving puzzles, cases,” and the worst thing is “the cases you can’t solve.” She mentioned meeting people on the worst day of their lives. Some suffer from trauma, where “the victim carries a rock, chips off part of it and gives it to you. You can’t carry all your rocks.” You “try to do a good job,” and give victims closure. She thinks Coronado has “more closure with cases” than other cities.

Coronado is fortunate to have highly educated, intelligent, positive, and empathetic female police officers if these four are indicative of the cadre. They embrace the hardships and difficulties in family coordination as part of the job with no complaining. They appreciate the atmosphere of the department and feel immense satisfaction with their duties. In addition, they seem grateful to be able to be helpful and contribute to the overall good will of the community.

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