Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TOP STORY >> Female police officers are in full force

By SARA GREENE
Leader staff writer

Nearly a quarter of the Jack-sonville Police Department’s force is female, more than any other local city, with 16 of the department’s 80 officers being women.

But other area cities are catching up.

“I wanted to be a police officer since I was little,” said Jacksonville officer Cobie Loftis, who said the worst part of her job is seeing how crime impacts children, which often makes her cherish her daughter Jodie, 10.

“Jodie doesn’t worry about my work. She wants to be a police officer when she grows up,” Loftis said.
For many women, like Jacksonville K-9 Officer Regina Boyd, becoming a police officer has been a goal since childhood. Her father worked for the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Depart-ment and as an officer in Ward, Austin and Cabot.

“I enjoy the excitement of it,” Boyd said. “It’s rewarding to see the outcome of getting the bad guys off the street.”
Boyd says her daughter, Tara, 13, is more interested in sports right now than becoming a third-generation police officer. Appreciation of athletics also runs in the Boyd family.

“I hunt, fish, ride horses and Tara’s on a traveling softball team so we spend lots of time together,” Boyd said.
Det. Kimberly Lett enjoys the excitement of working for the department.

“I like the adrenaline rush, kicking in doors to serve narcotics search warrants,” Lett said.
About a tenth of the Sherwood Police Departments’ 56 officers are women. According to Lt. Cheryl Will-iams, the department just hired its seventh female officer, Angel Wil-liams, who will be entering the police academy next week.

“We’re very proud of all our female officers,” said Williams, who has served on the Sherwood police force for the past 20 years.
Fellow female police officer, Sgt. Berny Russell, has 17 years on the force.

Other female officers in Sher-wood include Pam Hopkins, who serves as the resource officer at Sylvan Hills High School and Heather Cone, who works with the department’s Community Orien-ted Policing program.

There are also three female patrol officers including Miriam Carlisle, Jamie Spence and Beverly Hughes.
The Cabot Police Department has a force of 34 patrol officers and hired its fourth female officer, Kathryn Carpenter, on Dec. 16.
Female officers get the same respect as their male counterparts on the city streets according to Sgt. Dwayne Roper, public information officer for the Cabot Police Depart-ment. “A suspect is just as likely to ‘burr-up’ to a male officer as a female officer,” Roper said.

The Lonoke Police Department has two female officers, Cathy Stivers and Barbara Ferraro. The only female police officer on the Beebe police force is Freda Calla-han.