At the forefront of those efforts is Sarah Sclafani. She’s been working on the force as an officer for five years.
She’s one of only 48 female officers in the Henrico Police Department. Soon, she says that number will increase to 55 after seven current recruits graduate at the end of January.
Sclafani said one of the biggest challenges is getting women to see the various ways that they can put their skills to use in the department. She said one of the challenges is to get women to see the diversity within departments.
“We have female detectives, polygraphers, homicide detectives and more. It really is a diverse division,” Sclafani explained.
Lt. Linda Toney, a veteran with 21 years under her belt, will tell you that the force these days is far different from in years past. Women are more accepted and bring a critical dynamic to the job- the communication factor.
“I may not be as strong as a male officer but I can talk my way out of a situation,” said Toney. “Don’t get me wrong, there are times when you have to go hands on and we are trained to do that when we need to, but often ladies rely on that communication to get through a situation ,” she said.
These are the types of things prospective female officers will hear at an upcoming career and recruitment session.
“We’ll have them come in and ask questions of the officers and detectives,” Sclafani said.
Women will have one on one sit-down with people in areas that interest them, like forensics and Special Victims Units.
“They will also see a dry run of an agility course, which is also a requirement if you want to be a police officer” Sclafani added.
They’ll get an up close look at life behind the badge, Toney said. Recruiters hope that will help boost their ranks and bring more strong women to the force.
The recruitment session is open to prospective female officers on January 8, 2013 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. It’s being held at the police department on East Parham Road.