Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Women in Law Enforcement
NEVADA, MO.--- In the last 30 years, women have taken on careers that, in the past, have been outnumbered by men. In fact, there's only two women in the Vernon County area whom are apart of the law enforcement community. Today, KODE spoke with a female officer with the Nevada Police Department who's breaking gender stereotypes.
"I just fell in love with the idea of doing this for the rest of my life and ever since then, it's been the goal and here I am now," said Amber Williamson, Nevada Police Officer.
Amber Williamson is the only woman among 21 officers on the Nevada police force. In 2013, she won officer of the year and recently became a certified scene investigator.
"I recently just went through that course and there's 14 people in the class, and only two of us were females," said Williamson.
She says being a female in some instances can be more advantageous, especially throughout a sexual assault investigation.
"Women tend to feel more comfortable speaking with other women. I can get along well with children, some children are a little hesitant, the uniform can be a little scary. Sometimes a female officer can help in those situations as well," said Williamson.
Officer Williamson was also just nominated to become a part of the Nevada Crisis Response Unit. The group is invitation only and she'll join six other men to respond to extremely dangerous situations.
"I know that every police chief would say that he needs to increase the number of female officers, and we do as well," said Chief Graham, Burnley Nevada Police Department.
Nevada Police Chief Graham Burnley says every department should mirror its community, but unfortunately that's not realty yet.
"They're a vital member of it. Those that go through the academy and get on the street do a valuable job for local law enforcement," said Chief Burnley.
As a Nevada police officer, Williamson is trained and tested the exact same way her male peers are.
"There's plenty of men out there who are smaller than I am, there's plenty of women that are bigger than I am. We all have our different strengths and advantages, just because my gender is different than theirs, I don't see the difference," said Williamson.
On average, only 13% of women across the nation make up a police force, mostly in bigger markets.