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Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Lynne Doucette

Lynne Doucette

Lt. Lynne D. Doucette is a patrol supervisor and defensive tactics trainer with the Brunswick (Maine) PD. Prior to being the first female promoted at BPD, she worked as an undercover detective assigned to the state narcotics task force.

Patricia Teinert

Patricia Teinert

Patricia A. Teinert has been a Texas peace officer since 1984. She has served as a patrol officer, investigator, and member of a juvenile gang and narcotics task force. She is currently a patrol officer with Katy ISD Police Department.
Women in Law Enforcement

Your 'Officer' Persona Puts You In Charge

Awareness is the most important skill needed for police work.

January 26, 2010  |  by Lori Connelly - Also by this author

A San Francisco police officer. Image via rubybgold (

As police officers we are trained to be observers. Early in the academy we are grilled on being aware of our physical location. This is important for many obvious reasons. We are trained to be aware of our backdrop in every situation to scan for threats or in case we suddenly need to draw our weapon and shoot. Awareness is perhaps the most important skill needed to perform the duties of a police officer.

Being a female officer, and a smaller one at that, I have often wished I was taller knowing that most of the people I deal with on the street are taller and heavier than me. I have never felt the need to prove myself physically though, because when the time comes to show what you have, it has always been a matter of gaining and keeping control of a situation for everyone's safety.

It wasn't until someone pointed it out to me that I realized I walk and carry myself very differently when I am in uniform than I do when I am in my civilian clothes. Maybe it is because in my civilian clothes I love to dress very femininely in high heels and pretty dresses.

Once I put my uniform on, I am out to take care of business. I carry myself in a manner that says, "Don't mess with me. I am in charge. I am here to help."

When children play and pretend to be adults, they put "serious" adult expressions on their faces. Officers put on their "officer personalities" when they put on their uniforms. This is an important quality to have as an officer.

Awareness on our jobs requires us to be in a different state of mind while at work than we might be while sitting at a sidewalk cafe people watching on a day off. Using our skills and resources to the best of our abilities as female officers, no matter what our statures are, can be our best assets.

We were not hired to prove ourselves physically to anyone; we were hired to do the best we can with all we have.

Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

zephyr1408 @ 1/28/2010 12:58 PM

After 30 years of police work in a community where violence is something that happens everyday in some shape or form I have an opinion on this article: I am a small guy 5'8" 190 lbs and I am a monster compared to any of our female officers. There is no fair play in the streets for an officer and for a female officer to not be seriously concerned with their physical abilities as far as being abel to out musscle a resisting suspect or one trying to hurt you while resisting you then that officer will get hurt eventually. I do not care who I work with as long as they are serious about doing their job. Coming to work weighing a 110-150 lbs at 5'2" and in good shape still does not get it done. I have never witnessed a female police officer sweep a 200 lb suspects feet and pin him to the ground through sheer force and good tactics. Sorry if I sound a little harsh however; I still believe you can be a good female officer however, she has to do more in the way of defense tactics and mastering them. Because of my size I became proficent in using my baton along with sweeps, grappleing, and delivering a knock out punch or elbow if needed from an up or down position. The best thing a female officer can do is realize her lack of physical strenth, improve her abilty to negoatiate with others before becoming physical and make sure she has a male officer with her. The funny thing about police work at the street level is how unaware it is about hiring rights and the right to do the same job I am doing as a larger male officer----the bad guys could care less you have the right to be an officer and tell them when and how to come and go-----you better be abel to back it up with sheer raw physical power period or I will kick your ass right in front of John Q public. Now would I have voiced this opinion before I retired---the answer is no! I would have been called a rude sexist old fashioned cop even if it is the truth. But even at the size I am their was limitation to who I

ladylaw115 @ 4/20/2010 2:49 AM

I can’t agree more. Not only do we put on that persona when the uniform goes on....if we do carry are self well, display a show of authority it will be preserved by those around us. That can make the difference between compliance and being given a hard time. One example I always use is I responded to an assault call as the cover officer. The officer who was handling the call was asking the questions. However, the victim was answering those questions to me. All I was doing was standing there, as backup, but even he could tell by my demeanor that I must have been the one in charge.

Go @ 3/9/2011 10:51 PM

Zephyr - I agree with some of what you say about the size of the officers, but now it's both men and women that are tiny. I am a female, same height as you & in shape, but I know my limitations. Due to them I dress sharply & don't wear jewelry & the clown make-up that some do. It's not a game out there & some don't realize it. All my partners have been men & none of us have ever been hurt. There are other things I have done to give me the benefit, which I won't discuss here.

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