Challenges of being a female police officer - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Challenges of being a female police officer

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The Sioux Falls Police Department is hiring more than a dozen people this month and even more this fall.

They are putting a special emphasis on hiring more female officers.

Only 10 percent of Sioux Falls Police Officers are women.

"I'd love to see that more representative of the population and have them be half the force," said Police Chief Doug Barthel.

He is pushing more women to apply.

"Policing has historically been considered a men's profession, but we have found over the years a number of women that have gotten involved in it and been very rewarding," he said.

Tarah Walton has been a police officer for 11 years.

She agrees it is thought of as a man's profession.

"I always said in law enforcement you almost have to prove yourself twice. You're proving yourself once as a female and a second time as a capable law enforcement officer and that's pretty much what it's been," she said.

There are some physical setbacks, but Walton has found a way around them.

"I'm shorter than most of my guy counterparts and I weigh less. I have to use my head, I have to use my words, I have to really find a way to try to keep myself from getting into that physical confrontation where I may not be as physically equal as the person I'm dealing with," she explained.

Walton added once you overcome what some think to be disadvantages, there are aspects when being a woman is beneficial.

"Dealing with rape victims, if they're a female rape victim or a female assault victim, having that female officer there to take the report or just be present seems to help that victim open up or feel more comfortable. Just feel that they've got somebody there that can maybe understand their situation a little bit more," she said.

Officer Walton added if you are on the fence about applying you should call and set up a ride along.

That way you can see if you like the job.

She said you can request to ride with a woman to see a day in her life.

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