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San Diego Police Department working to attract more female recruits

Posted at 7:47 AM, Nov 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-21 10:47:31-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More women want to join the ranks of the San Diego Police Department.

The first week of the 129th Regional Academy on the campus of Miramar College ended Friday. For twenty-three-year-old Beverly Navarro, this is the start of a dream come true.

"I love public safety, I love helping people, others most definitely, and this was something I was destined for," said Navarro.

Navarro is one of 13 female recruits out of the 47 recruits for the San Diego Police Department. That's nearly double the number of female recruits in previous academies.

The Chula Vista native has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. She worked as a mental health aide at the Polinsky Children's Center.

"I'm very passionate about it because I grew up in a background with a little bit of domestic violence, so I have an understanding to women when they need a little bit of motivation or push to get out of an abusive relationship," said Navarro.

Her goal is to work in the sex trafficking unit.

"It's very big right here in San Diego. We're really close to the border and working at the Polinsky Children's Center; I would hear cases about women when they would run away or escape they would often go into sex trafficking," said Navarro.

The department is one of several across the country committed to the so-called 30/30 pledge. The goal is to have women make up 30% of the department by 2030. Right now, the number is about 17% which is slightly higher than the national average of 12%.

"We are always making recruiting efforts to try and get a highly diverse group of people that want to serve the San Diego Police Department and serve the city," said Lt. Steve Waldheim, San Diego Police Department Backgrounds and Recruiting.

The department held a women's expo last August to help generate interest in the department.

"We offer so many different detective positions so we highlight that yes, if you did want to have a family ultimately, you can have weekends, you can have nights off, you can have a permanent schedule," said Lt. Waldheim.

A petite, 5'2" Navarro is ready to prove herself on the street.

"I'm small. I'm a tiny woman. They see an officer, they would probably think she's not capable of you know, anything a man can do, taking a criminal down, but I would say that's more motivation to prove to them that it is possible," said Navarro.

The recruits will graduate in May. This is one of four academies held throughout the year.