2022 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
The Los Angeles Women Police Officers and Associates Board is proud to announce our 2022 Scholarship award winners. The scholarships applications were open to current LAWPOA members in good standing. Applicants were asked to describe why diversity, equity and inclusion is important for the advancement of women in law enforcement.
Here are our lucky winners:
Monique, why is DEI important for the advancement of women in Law Enforcement?
Historically, the critical roles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have not played a significant role in the advancement of women in law enforcement. The gender gap continues to exist as women make up approximately only 13 percent of sworn law enforcement officers at police departments across the nation (Duffin, et. al., 2021). In this male-dominate profession, women have been able to show their worth and value; however, the mere fact that the law enforcement profession fostered a culture riddled with standards and tactics that prevented and hindered the advancement of women, let us know that change has to come from within the foundation’s core structure. By using diversity, equity, and inclusion the decision makers in the profession can address these types of obstacles. This is how we can continue to challenge and unravel the injustices that prevent the best from being their best and giving their best to communities who deserve their best. Over the years, the challenge to diversify the workplace have grown from a slow crawl to the steps of a steady-pace marathon runner because now more than ever before, diversity, equity and inclusion are carving out its place in society as a whole. Organizations, businesses, and law enforcement agencies are being held accountable, and they have taken on the responsibility to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive in how they go about their hiring, promoting, and engaging with the public.
Although organizations like the Los Angeles Women Police Officers and Associates (LAWPOA) exist to support and encourage these efforts; the need for law enforcement agencies to focus on a plan of action to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are essential in how they are moving forward with understanding, planning, and implementing positive changes in how they function daily. The importance of diversity, equity and inclusion made its imprint on the Los Angeles Police Department in 2020. The Chief of Police appointed its first DEI Officer with hopes of implementing a plan that is geared toward departmental change by including DEI concepts into how the department shall move forward. Policy, curriculum, training, and community outreach are being impacted diversity, equity and inclusion concepts help unravel the roadblocks set up to keep women from having fair and unequal access to advancement opportunities. These concepts help to highlight the benefits of individual differences that make them assets within law enforcement verses being seen as a hinderance. Diversity, equity, and inclusion provide a pathway for agencies to use as a guide to bring about the necessary changes within their departments. DEI helps to identify those potholes we are accustomed to and challenge us to be better. With DEI, the possibilities are endless, and the doors can be left wide open of anyone and everyone to enter.
Michi, why is DEI important for the advancement of women in Law Enforcement?
For the past few decades, policing practices have considerably changed over time. These changes affect the society we serve and influence the perception of how the public views law enforcement. Strategic use of diversity and inclusion in law enforcement agencies maximizes the value of community engagement, improved workforce sustainability, and promotes officer safety. Equity, inclusion, and diversity are not mutually exclusive; they are critical to success. Equity speaks to fairness and treatment to include equality of opportunity, while inclusion prompts an environment conducive to feedback openness. Diversity is concerned with representation and perspectives; when an organization establishes equity, it demonstrates that it values inclusion and diversity. In law enforcement, women account for a small percentage of the workforce, whether sworn or civilian personnel. The advancement of women personnel will create a more balanced public safety force fueled by a growing appreciation of certain unique and valuable professional qualities that women often bring to a male-dominated industry.
Furthermore, women bring unique skill sets to the industry, including advanced problem-solving skills, de-escalation, and more. Beyond soft skills, the advancement of women in law enforcement also builds trust within the community. This improves the representation and creates a law enforcement agency that is more reflective of the population they serve.
Beyond a gender dichotomy, research has shown that diverse workforces are more effective, creative, and resilient than homogenous workforces. Teams with broad perspectives are better at making sound decisions and impactful solutions. In addition, women have been proven to possess superior communication skills, a critical ability for law enforcement professionals. The strengths of men and women collectively working together in the workforce make it a better place to work and provide better service delivery to our communities.
We are so proud of our 2022 Winners!