Advancing Women’s Leadership in Law Enforcement
Connie Patrick, Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, reflects on an event the Center hosted for 21 women leaders in law enforcement.
Connie Patrick is Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Department of Homeland Security’s law enforcement training organization. Last year, FLETC trained more than 70,000 law enforcement professionals in skills including fingerprinting, tracking financial transactions, counterterrorism tactics, securing a building and searching a crime scene. Patrick reflects on an event the Center hosted for 21 women leaders in law enforcement.
Last week, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) hosted 21 women in law enforcement as part of FLETC’s Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Training Program at our headquarters in Glynco, GA. FLETC hosted a week-long leadership training program to help promote and support women’s leadership in law enforcement, discuss current leadership challenges for women in law enforcement, and help facilitate career planning.
During the training program, I had the great privilege to join U.S. Secret Service (USSS) Chief of Staff Julia Pierson and FLETC Assistant Directors Cynthia Atwood and Dominick Braccio for a panel discussion on law enforcement leadership topics. USSS Chief of Staff Pierson began her career as a police officer in Orlando, Florida and then served as a USSS Special Agent assigned to the Miami Field Office. FLETC Assistant Director Atwood was a special agent at the United States Department of Agriculture before coming to FLETC 15 years ago to promote law enforcement training excellence. FLETC Assistant Director Braccio has 32 years of law enforcement experience and recently received the Outstanding Advocate for Women in Federal Law Enforcement Award for his contributions in areas of recruiting, retaining, and promoting women in law enforcement from the Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) Foundation.
During the panel discussion, we noted that, while the law enforcement officers in attendance represented a diverse spectrum of agencies and functions, they shared common experiences as women in law enforcement. Although women make up 47 to 50 percent of the workforce in the United States, they constitute only up to 20 percent of the law enforcement workforce and are underrepresented in the management ranks.
Here at FLETC, we are working hard to advance issues that impact women in law enforcement. In the coming year, we will hold Women in Law Enforcement Leadership Training Programs at the FLETC domestic centers and internationally at the International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEA) in Thailand, Hungary, Botswana, and El Salvador.
We at FLTEC understand that the law enforcement profession as a whole will continue to improve as women bring their skills and experience to leadership roles in law enforcement organizations across the country and around the world, and we look forward to being a part of their good work.
Avra Siegel is the Deputy Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls.