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I'm a Woman and I Want To Be A Police Officer
What is it like?
Being a police officer can be the most fascinating and satisfying career you could ever choose. Policing today has professional standards and high expectations of those who enter. The police are often the first, and sometimes the only, contact many citizens will have with a government representative. Police actions can influence attitudes about the entire government system.

Charlotte prides itself on the level of professionalism to which all officers are held. Recruiting women is an integral part of building a police department that is representative of the community it serves.

Today's policing environment is more receptive than ever before to the unique skills that women bring to policing. Yet, there are still myths about women in the policing field that persist.

 

 

Myth: You have to be almost perfect to be a police officer.
Fact: Standards are high, but not unattainable. For instance, everyone must:

  • be at least 21 years old
  • have a high school diploma or GED
  • be able to get an NC driver's license
  • have an Honorable Discharge (if applicable) from any military service (General Discharges may be considered)
  • pass a background investigation, polygraph screening, psychological screening, and medical exam
  • pass a drug test and currently be drug free, with no past use of certain drugs, including cocaine, LSD, or heroin
  • have no felony convictions

However, we recognize that people can make mistakes. Some consideration may be given to candidates who: 

  •    have a Class B misdemeanor conviction older than 5 years 
  •    have less than 4 Class A misdemeanors within the last 5 years 
  •    have previously tried marijuana

Myth: Police applicants need to already know a lot about self-defense, laws and using firearms
Fact: Many police applicants have no background in any of those things – many have never fired a gun, studied criminal law or done any kind of martial arts. CMPD pays police recruits while they attend over 900 hours or about 22 weeks of training. The training will teach new police officers all of the basic skills needed to be a police officer, such as:

  •    Constitutional, state and traffic laws
  •    Defensive tactics and physical training
  •    Firearms training and defensive driving
  •    Investigative procedures and report writing
  •    CMPD policies and procedures
  •    New technologies, including laptop computers

After completing the academy, new officers ride with a PoliceTraining Officer for 14-16 weeks to begin applying new skills to real-world situations.

Myth: Women aren't thick skinned enough to be good police officers.
Fact: Police officers are exposed to undesirable and sometimes traumatic incidents. Compassion and empathy during those times serves the community well. Many of the interpersonal skills women traditionally possess are invaluable to effective policing.

 

Myth: Police work requires people who are physically imposing.
Fact: Police work is not all about size and muscles. You do have to pass a job-related physical ability test, but good general physical conditioning is more important than size or strength.

Myth: Police officers aren't supposed to get scared.
Fact: All police officers, at one time or another, have faced situations that caused them to be afraid. The television and movie version of police work is exaggerated. While police work can be dangerous, even life-threatening, officers are trained and equipped to deal with these situations. The daily work of policing is relatively safe.

Myth: Women police are faced with a lot more situations where they must use a gun.
Fact: Police officers must sometimes make life and death decisions. There may be an incident which causes any officer to use deadly force. Officers receive over 120 hours of training specifically in firearms, shoot-don't-shoot scenarios, use of force and legal training which helps prepare them for this type of situation. Statistically, though, the majority of men and women police officers retire from law enforcement without ever having to use deadly force.

Myth: There is little support for women in policing.
Fact: The CMPD has a Women's Network Committee staffed by rank and file women police. The committee is available to mentor women police officers and also helps recruit, retain and promote female officers. In addition, there is always an informal support network of senior officers who gladly provide guidance to new officers.

Myth: Women officers face sexual harassment.
Fact:
Policies of the CMPD and the City of Charlotte strictly prohibit sexual harassment in the work place. Any reported incidents of sexual harassment are thoroughly investigated and offenders are subject to the appropriate level of punishment, which could include termination.  
 
 

Myth: Women police encounter relationship problems with loved ones who cannot accept their chosen profession
Fact:
When someone enters a profession that could involve danger, there is some apprehension by those who care about that person. CMPD offers ride-along programs and family education programs that help alleviate the fears of family members by allowing them to see first-hand the amount of backup and support officers receive from peers.

 
  Myth: It is very difficult to be a mother and a police officer while working varying shifts.
Fact:
  Most officers are assigned permanent shifts within the first two years of their careers.  Many CMPD women are working mothers.  Some are single mothers.
 

Myth: Being a woman police officer is very different from being a male officer.
Fact: Badges come in gold or silver, not pink or blue. Policing is a challenging and rewarding profession limited only by the abilities of the individual officer. There are thousands of successful women in policing today. As more women have entered the profession, there is greater acceptance among their peers and the public.

Myth: Career paths for women police are limited.
Fact: Opportunities for CMPD women are unlimited and include:

 

  •    Radio Response Officer
  •    Bike and Foot Patrol
  •    Community Police Officer
  •    Investigator
  •    Canine Officer
  •    School Resource Officer
  •    Highway Interdiction and Traffic Safety
  •    Lake Enforcement Officer
  •    Special Weapons and Tactics
  •    Training and/or Recruitment
  •    Computer Technology Services

 

 A New World Awaits Those Ready To Challenge It!