Agencies push for more women to become first responders

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First Responders throughout Mecklenburg County are hoping more women take interest in joining their agencies.

FOX 46 Charlotte's Lindsay Clein rode along with a female police officer, to find out what it's like to be a female on the force.

On an average day in the Queen City, you can often find 27-year-old Chelsea Kidder bringing security to the streets.

"It's tough, it's challenging," Kidder said.  "And I wouldn't say it's easy at all-- but it's very rewarding."

If you asked Chelsea about ten years ago if she ever imagined she'd be behind the wheel of a police cruiser, breezing through boulevards and keeping the community safe, the answer would likely be "no."

"I originally wanted to be a pilot," Kidder said.  "Since I was a little kid."

Kidder has now been on the force about 3.5 years now.  It didn't take long for policing to become her passion.

"I love doing it," she said.  "It's something I enjoy."

It's a job she looks forward to daily.  One she encourages other women to also consider.

"It's such a  good job-- it's definitely not easy-- but it's important," Kidder said.  "I don't think females should be worried or concerned or scared to do it-- because I think any female could do it."

While the job of a first responder can be dangerous, Chelsea says she finds it rewarding.

"I think the coolest part I've found about being an officer is how much you get to help people," said Kidder.  "And that may seem cliche-- but I've realized being an officer-- you're in a position where you can help."

CMPD wants more officers like Chelsea-- more women-- to join the force.

"I think it's important that the department reflects the community we serve," said CMPD Officer Mahroo Grant, with the Recruitment Division.  "And right now, the Charlotte community is half female."

Currently, only about 14 percent of the officers at CMPD are women.

"We have a total of 272 sworn police officers that are female," said Grant.  "And 1,629 sworn male police officers total."

"In any male dominated field, you would have to prove yourself," said Kidder.  "I've been very fortunate they treat me just the same-- and I haven't noticed a big difference with them treating me differently than a male co-worker."

"Females have a calming, communicating approach to policing," said Grant.  "Which serves our community and profession quite well."

While the duties of first responders are demanding, when it comes to the job-- officers say it's not your gender that determines your diligence.

"It's challenging-- but I've seen challenges for guys, too in the same sense," said Kidder.  "So I think if you have a certain confidence about you and work hard--  your co-workers will treat you the same and have the same respect for you."

"I'm a testament to-- if you work hard and prepare and have a 'never give up' type of attitude-- you can absolutely be successful in this profession," said Grant.

 

A Female First Responders Open House was held at the Charlotte Police and Training Academy Saturday, March 25.

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