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Number of female cops in Glendale Police Department still lags

Women make up just 10% of the force. The mix is worse elsewhere.

March 04, 2012|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • Glendale Police Department gang unit detective Sharon Kim investigates a tag painted on a wall in Western Alley in Glendale on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Kim has been with the gang unit for 1 month after starting with the GPD in 2004 as a cadet and 2006 as an officer. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Glendale Police Department gang unit detective Sharon…

For all the progress made on the ethnic diversity front, female officers make up just 10% of the Glendale Police Department's sworn staff, records show.

Of the 244 sworn officers employed with the Police Department last year, 219 were men and 25 were women.

But the ratio here is higher than that of similarly sized law enforcement agencies elsewhere, such as those in Ontario or Modesto.

As of 2011, 12 women held sworn positions in the Modesto Police Department, which had 230 officers. And of the 224 sworn officers in Ontario, 214 were men and 10 were women.

Of the 235 sworn officers in Oxnard in 2011, 212 were men and 23 were women. One woman, however, is that department's first female chief, Jeri Williams.

In Glendale, two women held positions as a lieutenant last year, while one was a sergeant and three were agents. Seven men were lieutenants, while 38 were sergeants and nine were agents. Men held all of the department's captain positions, as well as the chief's job.

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Being a female police officer has its challenges, said Glendale Police Det. Sharon Kim, who is Korean.

Occasionally, some men refuse to talk to her because she is a woman, but Kim said she has tackled those attitudes by moving the conversation along and getting the job done.

Now, for the most part, “All they see is the uniform. They don't see anything else.”

The 26-year-old Glendale native rose up through the ranks based on sheer determination and persistence.

She began her law enforcement career at the Police Department as a young cadet, shadowing fellow officers for three years while learning the ropes of public safety.

Meanwhile, Kim attended a local university and applied with the department as soon as she was eligible. She worked patrol for five years and became a crisis negotiator.

Her hard work paid off this year when she earned a detective's position on the Gang Unit.

“I'd like to stay here until they kick me out,” Kim said.

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