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Columbus Police Hold First Women's Career Fair In Law Enforcement

Esther Honig

The Columbus Division of Police is holding its first women career fair for multiple law enforcement agencies.  The department has set a goal to hire more women and increase their numbers to 20% of the force.

“This was something that was important to us as we went around to the different bureaus and precincts, what we didn’t see were a lot of women,” said CPD Assistant Chief LaShanna Potts. “So, we started having those questions about what can we do to bring women back into law enforcement.”

Potts has been with CPD for about four months, after a 24-year career with the Detroit Police Department. Potts said she understands many women want a family life along with a career.

“A lot of women look at the danger of being in law enforcement and it may not be something that’s appealing to them,” said Potts. “What we want to show them is that you can be all of those things and more and still have a really good career in law enforcement.”

Potts said right now women make up only 6% of the police force. CPD is also currently down 150 officers. Recent retirements and others leaving due to disenchantment with pandemic challenges, as well as frayed police and community relations have hurt staffing.

Potts said while it can be difficult at times, she has managed to maintain her private life and raise children while working in law enforcement.

“I want women to understand that there’s going to be some challenges, but that’s with any profession,” said Potts. “But the goal is to have more of them at the table so that the changes we want to see in reform can be made.”

Potts said women can bring an important and different perspective to policing.

“We also know that studies have been done that when women join law enforcement ranks it not only decreases litigation, but it also improves community relations.”

The Women’s Career Fair will be held at the Columbus Police Academy, Saturday, November 13, from 10am-2pm.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.