KALAMAZOO, Mich. — When Police Chief Karianne Thomas joined the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety back in 1994, there were a handful of women on the force, she said. There weren’t locker rooms for them and their uniforms were created for men.
Today, of the 240 officers in the department there’s 29 women in the department, along with better facilities and uniforms, she added.
Now, the department is hoping to recruit more women, she said. So they created a video.
“We wanted to just produce something very quickly that shows and honor some of the females that we have working here and why they joined us and some of the unique things that they get to do,” said Chief Thomas during an interview at headquarters.
The video called KDPS Women Behind the Badge showcases several women working in different units from road patrol to the bomb squad to the investigative team .
They released the video Wednesday morning and it’s already been viewed over 200 times on YouTube and shared over a dozen times on Facebook.
“It just shows that we’re not strictly a male-dominated profession and thats there’s room for everyone,” Chief Thomas said. “That we enjoy everyone’s unique skills and talents.”
She said the video was created because women are one of their toughest demographics to reach. She believes many women view KDPS -- which includes law enforcement, firefighting and medical emergencies -- as intimidating because it’s so physical.
However, it’s more mental and emotional she said.
“Females tend to bring communication skills,” Chief Thomas said. “As well as we all have the mothering ability in us and to see a situation sometimes on a different level.”
So, she hopes women apply. KDPS is hiring now until November 15. Anyone interested should got to the website for more information.
All they’re really looking for is a woman with a heart of compassion and empathy, she said.
“We can train you to do the job but we can’t train you to love the work you do,” Chief Thomas said. “So if you come in with a love for service, we’ll train the brain and hire the heart.”