Opinion

Female law enforcement officers' competence is not up for debate | Our Corner

I have covered many hot-topic stories in the past. Some were interesting, some not so much. Most of the time it is the chase that hooks. Stories are seldom as cut and dried as readers would like and the story idea that someone calls with is usually not what ends up in print after the other side is contacted.

That darn truth.

I must say the story I covered last week in the court chambers in Enumclaw took a toll on me.

The two-day Civil Service Commission hearing concerning Lt. Eric Sortland's termination from the Enumclaw Police Department was a sad story to write.

When the hearings were complete, there was no joy in Enumclaw.

I have covered cops for years and know many of them.

What happened in the that room was necessary and needed, but painful for the department and everyone involved.

I usually refrain from writing editorials about a story I cover and I am not taking sides on this one, except for one issue – women as police officers.

Testimony was given regarding derisive remarks alleged to have been made about women serving as police officers.

I was not shocked by what I heard. I was in the third grade and I know how males think (or not). Males may try to act like they are mature men, but they are really still in third grade trying to figure out the playground.

As far as women police officers. I have worked closely with three in the newspapers I am associated with and all are chiefs – Michelle Bennett, the chief of Maple Valley Police Department, Jamey Kiblinger, chief of the Black Diamond Police Department, and Dana Powers, chief in Bonney Lake.

All three are the best I have worked with, male or female.

One of the comments made was that a woman cannot provide adequate protection due to a lack of physical strength.

From my point of view, the essence of what make an officer a value to the department and community is not physical strength, it is the basic virtue of integrity and being able to tell the truth, even when it hurts.

The three women mentioned above have the integrity a community needs in an officer. The Constitution and subsequent rulings by the courts have provided police with powers and limited their actions, for good reason.

A free society must have police, but oversight is critical. It is the nature of the beast.

Beyond the rules and regulation, an officer must have integrity. You have to be able to trust them, or the whole thing will not work.

Those three chiefs are all very good, but more importantly, they have what it takes to be police officer and chief of a department in a male-dominated world.

There are many way to be strong beyond lifting a dumbbell in the air.

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