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Salisbury Police bests national female officer average

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY ó Local law enforcement agencies have a higher percentage of female officer than the national average.
According to the Salisbury Police Department, just over 14 percent of the sworn officers in the department are female. This is about 3 percent higher than the 2007 national average for sworn female officers in medium sized local law police departments.
According to the Department of Justice, female officers in local police departments rose from 7.6 percent in 1987 to nearly 12 percent in 2007. The DOJ reported the 2000 average as being just over 10 percent. In comparison, Salisbury Police had 14. 5 percent in 2000.
The department dipped slightly in 2006, to 13.8 percent ó as did the national average ó but rose to 14.8 percent in 2011.
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins said he looks solely at the qualities of applicants and does not make a concerted effort to recruit female officers.
ěWe always look to bring in the most qualified candidates through our doors to work,î Collins said. ěI look at the qualities of the person. Thatís what our community deserves, the best qualified candidate that we can bring into the department and thatís what I strive for.î
Collins said having officers who can relate to the community is a priority as well.
ěI would like to see our hiring demographics be consistent with the demographics of our community,î Collins said.
Collins said the number of female applicants arenít close to the number of applying males, but he said the department does have ěquite a good number of female applicants.î
The department also works with Livingstone College to hire recent graduates interested in law enforcement and provides career information in predominately Hispanic locations.
Collins said heís confident about the abilities of female officers and their capability to handle themselves in all types of situations.
ěTo me it ought to something that our two captains happen to be female,î Collins said. ěFemale officers are just as apt and cable to handle themselves and to use force if necessary just like any male officer.î
The Rowan County Sheriffís Office has óin the last decade ó slightly increased overall in the number of sworn female officers, but has not met the national average.
In 2001, 11.1 percent of the Rowan County Sheriffís Officeís sworn officers were female. It also dipped to 10 percent in 2006, but rose to 12.2 percent in 2010.
In comparison, the DOJ reported the percent of female sworn officers in sheriffsí offices at 15.6 percent in 1997. The national average declined to 11.2 percent.
Salisbury Police Department sworn officers
Year Male Female
1979 43 3
2000 66 11
2006 69 11
2011 69 12
(first sworn female officer started in 1976)
Rowan Sheriffís Office sworn officers
Year Male Female
2001 80 10
2006 96 11
2010 101 14

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