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Secure a female subject before a same-sex search

In agencies where opposite-sex searches are taboo, women officers are often called to a scene to search a female suspect or offender. If you are that female officer, make sure whoever is requesting you has the suspect controlled before your arrival. When you pull up, the “bad girl” now knows she’s getting searched and may be going to jail, so she may try to access a weapon, start a brawl or even panic and run. If you get to the scene and the subject of your search is not yet under control, park your vehicle in a position of cover and communicate with the officers on the scene to get her (and her purse, if she has one) secure before you approach. If the male officers on your shift habitually don’t secure females before calling you over to search, talk to them about the situation and let them know, cop-to-cop, about your tactical concerns. Keep it light, avoid harsh criticism, and make sure you articulate that you’re concerned about everyone’s safety, not just your own.

My column is undergoing a bit of an identity crisis. I’ve been writing for the Street Survival “Newsline” and the P1 Newsletter for several years. As a Street Survival seminar instructor, I write about officer safety and survival, but I’m also a supervisor, a mom, a trainer, a cop’s wife, and dare I say, a woman, so I’ve got a lot to say about any number of topics (what woman doesn’t?!), and I’ve always received great feedback from our readers. So when Police One approached me and asked me to author a monthly column dealing with women’s issues, I enthusiastically agreed. “What a great opportunity” I naively thought “to bring issues to light that both women and men in law enforcement could all relate to, perhaps discuss at roll call, and ultimately learn something from each other.” Yeah, just call me Sergeant Pollyanna…I forgot that by calling it a “women’s” column, not only will most of our male readers skip over it, but so will at least half our female readers. What?! Why in the world wouldn’t women read a “women’s” column?! Because, there are a lot of female crimefighters out there like me who have spent a lot of years just trying to blend in, to be “one of the guys” if you will…to be perceived as and conduct ourselves as “warriors,” not “victims.” We don’t want special treatment; we just want to be cops.