CHARLOTTE, NC Local Charlotte News – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has about 200 current openings for police officers. The police chief says the department is specifically falling short in the number of women on the force.
CMPD started Wednesday by pledging to double the percentage of women in the department and setting a deadline.
One of the deputy chiefs is answering the call by sharing the story of how she broke down barriers to get where she is today.
“When I was growing up, I rarely saw officers in uniform that looked like me,” said CMPD Deputy Chief Sherie Pearsall.
When Pearsall was a young girl growing up in Charlotte, she says her school resource officers kept her out of trouble.
“I grew up a preacher’s kid, and for us, serving was a way of life.”
Now Pearsall is doing her own kind of preaching to get more women on the force at CMPD.
“I think for little girls to see us on TV and to see the array of women in the various uniforms and the various experiences is important, so they know there’s a place for them here at CMPD.
On Wednesday CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings signed the “30 by 30” pledge to work towards 30% of CMPD’s recruit class made up of female candidates by the year 2030.
“If your agency is reflective of your community, I think we create better experiences for our community when we respond to calls,” said Deputy Chief Pearsall.
Right now about 15% of CMPD’s officers are women compared with a community that is 52% female.
“A high percentage of those are women victims and when you see a female police officer show up, I think it’s a different experience that we provide,” said Pearsall.
Pearsall has risen to the rank of Deputy Chief, proving that women have opportunities at CMPD.
“We have women in our motorcycle unit, on our SWAT team, our K-9 unit, and many of our tactical units. We have women well represented. I think that’s a positive because you have an opportunity to grow, and women love to grow.”
CMPD says it’s still above the national average, which is about 12% of police officers are women, but Deputy Chief Pearsall calls that “insufficient” considering Charlotte’s female population, and she wants the department to do better at recruiting women.
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