Police officers and community members recently took to the streets to honor women in law enforcement with the Detroit Police Department’s first-ever “Walk With Women” event.
As part of Women’s History Month in March, the participants walked a mile through downtown Detroit to show their pride in women who wear the badge.
“For me, it’s important to mentor, motivate, support and encourage other women,” Captain Sonia J. Russell told Fox 2 News.
The event began with a meeting of women of different ages and backgrounds, including some of the agency’s top female leadership, at Detroit Police headquarters. The department has had women walking the beat for more than 100 years.
“Would it surprise you to know that the first woman was appointed to the Detroit Police Department in 1920?” Captain Tonya Leonard-Gilbert said. “From there, we went on to have our Chief’s Women’s Division in 1922.”
More than a century later, the department has 630 female officers — almost one-third of its force.
Deputy Chief DeShaune Sims said she wants to continue the legacy of women in law enforcement. “This is probably the most important truth — is understanding that I am only in this space for a finite period and time,” she said. “Understanding the importance of being a Black woman in law enforcement, and the impact I want to have on this organization, and the legacy I want to leave for those who are next up to sit in this seat.”
“I implore each of you ladies, as you embark in your career at DPD and you all are going to elevate, don’t forget who you are. Always be empathetic, compassionate,” Commander Jacqueline Pritchett told the women in attendance. “Just remember that you officers matter. You matter, stay true to who you are.”
The reaction to the event was positive. “DPD Women in Leadership are doing a phenomenal job! Best wishes for continuing success in your service and career endeavors with the City of Detroit! An extra kudos to Captain Sonia Russell for her Leadership in the various community outreach programs,” one Facebook user said.