Nerves of Steel.

Since 2010, the San Diego Police Foundation has presented Women in Blue, an initiative that calls attention to the remarkable women who have pursued careers in law enforcement. These leaders don’t all wear blue uniforms, nor do they do the same job or work for the same organization, but they all have one not-so-surprising characteristic in common: nerves of steel.

“What is required of a person to serve as a police officer, equal parts guardian and defender, to run towards danger when others are running away?” asks Sara Napoli, president and CEO of the San Diego Police Foundation. “I might describe it as nerves of steel. Though traditionally viewed as a masculine characteristic, our women in blue demonstrate that courage knows no gender.”

That courage also translates into the willingness to go where women have rarely tread, into careers where they are among the few females in any room, or patrol car. According to the U.S. Department of Justice women constitute just 11.2 percent of sworn officers in local police departments. It is therefore notable and encouraging that the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) has risen from 14 percent female sworn officers in 2011 to 21 percent today.

SDPD is a step ahead on many fronts, including having had a female police chief and instituting a community-oriented policing approach.

Community-oriented police departments function at their best when they reflect the people they serve. SDPD is a good example since its personnel represents the characteristics of the diverse population of the region. Yet, despite rapid recruitment and retention of female officers and a commendable success rate, it is still not at parity with the community, which is roughly 50 percent female.

To support SDPD’s continuing commitment to be America’s Finest police department, the Police Foundation presents the annual Women in Blue luncheon. This is closely aligned with the Police Foundation’s mission to ensure that San Diego’s sworn officers and their civilian colleagues at SDPD have what they need to do their jobs safely and with excellence. This is accomplished by engaging the community in funding much-needed equipment and training that is beyond what the city budget can readily provide.

Symbolizing trust, honor and strength, blue is the color of the San Diego Police Department’s uniform. It is also the hue most often worn by top business leaders. Today many women wear this color of power in business and have leadership roles in myriad fields, but it was not always so.

Even today women who choose careers in law enforcement are rare. These women are trailblazers and their path as well as their chosen profession requires uncommon courage. To recognize their leadership and dedication the Police Foundation honors them at Women in Blue. By telling their stories and by providing scholarships to women who aspire to a career in law enforcement or criminal justice, the Police Foundation intends to inspire the next generation of women in blue.

The 9th Annual Women in Blue Luncheon, “Nerves of Steel” will take place at 11:30 am, Wednesday, March 7, 2019 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.

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