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Female recruits get a leg up on physical agility test during Calif. PD’s practice training

The event is designed to provide potential recruits with tips and advice to help them pass the department’s physical agility test – the single most common stumbling block for female recruits


Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Reprinted with permission from Behind the Badge

By Cathi Douglas

Mayra Lozano has a positive view of the Santa Ana Police Department, grew up in the city, and wants to give back to her community by becoming a police officer. But the most important reason Lozano plans to apply for a police officer position is that she wants to be a positive, proactive role model for her 10-month-old daughter.

Lindsey Feher – who says she’s determined in all she does – hopes that her cross-country running experience will help her pass the department’s rigorous physical agility test.

Ashley Delgado believes the whole experience will be “challenging, but fun.”

Lozano, Feher and Delgado were three of about 50 potential recruits attending the Santa Ana Police Department’s second female practice training event held September 22 at Centennial Park. The event is designed to provide potential recruits with tips and advice to help them pass the department’s physical agility test – the single most common stumbling block for female recruits.

The female practice training event is a crucial part of the department’s commitment to the national 30X30 Initiative, which vows to make 30% of the department’s sworn officers female by the year 2030, notes Corporal Jorge Arroyo, recruitment coordinator.

“We want to show that men and women can do the same work,” Detective Maribel Casillas says. “We want them to have the confidence to believe that they can handle the work.”

Arroyo says the practice training is an important way the department can offer support to potential female recruits.

The event featured a six-foot solid wall climb and sprint, a six-foot chain-link fence climb, a 1.5-mile run, and an obstacle course, among other tests.

“We want to show women that especially in SAPD there are places for female officers,” Arroyo says. “We’ve had very positive reactions from participants and we’ll continue to consistently offer these events.”

Officer Chelsea Ramirez, who patrols the city’s West End, knows that to be successful in a male-dominated career, women must have the support and motivation from accomplished females already doing the job.

“It’s challenging,” she says of both the job and the physical agility test. “It’s important for them to stay focused, be determined, and not give up.”

Criminal justice as a career called out to Officer Joanna Hatziefstratiou, who did ride-alongs with several law enforcement agencies before deciding to apply at Santa Ana. “I was impressed with the way they police, their camaraderie, and the way they have each other’s backs,” Hatziefstratiou says.

Participants drag a 165-pound regulation dummy across the cement as they are timed during a Santa Ana Police Department physical agility practice training event for women at Centennial Park.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

“Women bring something special to the force,” she continues. “A lot of people are more comfortable speaking with a female officer, and we’re able to see different aspects of any given situation.”

“We offer a different viewpoint in a male-dominated environment,” she notes, adding that most women don’t even know they have the option to become police officers – and that she hopes the female practice training event and others like it will open their minds to the possibility.

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