Phoenix, AZ Chapter Leader Christy Narsi hosted a conversation presented by For The Blue founder Paula Fitzsimmons with retired Police Chief Michael C. Koval highlighting how the war on police is harming women.
With police recruitment hemorrhaging across the country there is a crisis in manpower which has a direct impact on women. From longer wait times for high-priority calls like domestics, assaults, and gun violence, to the dismantling of special units including those that focus on human trafficking and sensitive crimes, women (and children) have quickly become the most vulnerable in our communities.
Paula reports that “Due to a critical staffing shortage, the Seattle PD has had to halt the investigation of new adult sexual assaults. Their focus is on cases involving children, and adult cases with a suspect already in custody.” Said another way, without a properly staffed police force, many women will never see their perpetrator brought to justice and more second and third time plus offenders will further threaten women’s safety.
Not only is important to have a full police force to keep women safe, Chief Koval believes we need a work force that includes more women in order to be reflective of the community. “A woman will open up to another woman, particularly where a sexual assault has occurred.” Chief Koval explained. Sadly, because of the demoralization of law enforcement and criminals continually being emboldened, women are less and less likely to choose a career path as a police officer.
Even in the face of a war on police, Chief Koval has hope when he sees organizations like IWN expressing the urgency and the need to support law enforcement. “It’s going to have to be a grassroots sort of initiative where people decide, ‘we want to take back our communities, the quality of life has diminished, our children are unsafe, and we don’t want to run.'”