St. Paul Police Department looking for more female officers

"We don’t see women coming into policing like they did in the 80s and 90s.”

Two Haute Mamas
January 09, 2019 - 1:59 pm
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The St. Paul Police Department hopes a new recruitment event will encourage more women to join the force.

Of the more than 600 officers who work for the city of St. Paul, less than a hundred are women. And none of those women are African American.

Sheletta & Lindy of the Two Haute Mamas podcast tackle this issue on their latest show in hopes of spreading the word about the importance of women in law enforcement.

Chief Deputy Mary Nash joins the show and says not enough women see policing as a job, “We are at a point in the St. Paul Police Department where we aren’t keeping up with attrition rate. We don’t see women coming into law enforcement like they did in the 1980s and 1990s.”

To reach out to women, the department is hosting a Women in Uniform event on Saturday, January 19th at the St. Paul Police Department Training Facility at 600 Lafayette Road from 10 a.m. to noon.

Chief Deputy Nash hopes to reach younger women who are trying to decide their career path in life. “We have to connect with our youth and the women in our community who are in high school right now and even college aged women who want to be a game changer. We need women who can change the ways officers are perceived and retool the negative narrative surrounding law enforcement at the moment.”

There is a misconception, Chief Deputy Nash points out, that female officers have to be big and strong, “You don’t have to have brute force, I have been doing this job for 30 years. We focus on that heart of service. Women have that heart of service. Statistically women create less use of force encounters. We connect with people devoid of a lot of ego.”

Val Namen, who recently retired as a sergeant from the St. Paul Police Department agrees, “We are very good at deescalating.”

Sgt. Namen was the last African American woman on the force. She says recruitment efforts are needed to help women think outside the box when it comes to career choices. “Don’t limit yourself. Women have a tendency of limiting themselves. Look at what you’re capable of becoming and not just where you are now. Think bigger.”

In addition to personal fulfillment and helping your community, Sgt. Namen says women should consider the financial stability of becoming a cop. “You have a pension. You can take care of your family. There are so many people living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet. When you have a career in law enforcement, you don’t have to live that way. 

“Look at me: I’m 55 and I’m retired. I’m basking in the warmth and sunshine down in Florida.”

Organizers say the January 19th event will start off with a meet-and-greet then an informational session about what it takes to be a police officer.

Female officers will join the program to talk about their pathway into policing.

For more information call 651.266.5545.

To listen to the entire episode of the Two Haute Mamas podcast where Chief Deputy Mary Nash and Retired Sgt. Val Namen share their heroic stories of being female officers and the barriers they had to break down to achieve their goals in law enforcement, click here: