Meridian Township police aims to hire more women officers

Meridian Township to vote on expansion of female locker rooms
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 7:02 PM EST
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MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - With male-dominated police forces across the country, many departments are looking to bring in more female officers. Nationally, women make up 12% of the total police force. Only 3% of police leadership is female.

Meridian Township is swearing in five new officers on Monday. After they’re sworn in, the department will have 11 female officers and 27 male officers. The Meridian Township Police Department will be very close to its goal of 30% female officers.

Meghan Cole and her sister joined the Meridian Township Police force a year and a half ago.

“It’s been a bit challenging being a female, just cuz there’s not many of us, it seems like you have to prove yourself a little bit more than the males do,” said Officer Cole.

She said it’s becoming more inclusive, but they still need more space.

“It’s not right that the men have their own lockers, and the women are sharing. It’s not right. It’s not going to continue.” said Frank Walsh, Meridian Township Manager

Their women’s locker room was built in 1992. As time goes on, they’ve hired more female officers. Right now, Meridian Township’s female officers have to share lockers. Walsh said they can’t adequately hire more female officers without adding more lockers.

“It’s cramped, it’s small, there’s really no place to sit down and put your boots on,” said Meridan Township Police Chief Ken Plaga.

Walsh anticipates the township board will give their final vote on expanding the women’s locker room on Tuesday, December 13.

“This is really the township board’s initiative. This is something they really strongly believe in. Diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Walsh. “Right now, we don’t have that in our locker rooms in the police department.”

Chief Plaga said the larger effort to recruit more women is greatly needed.

“If you have a department that’s made up, majority of men, and you are a victim or a complainant that is a woman, you might not feel comfortable talking with a male officer,” said Chief Plaga.

“Females tend to be more compassionate, and they give a different perspective in the world than males might do,” said Officer Cole.

Officer Cole hopes the increase of female officers in Meridian Township will inspire the next generation.

“Especially young girls. It’s great to see female officers, strong role models, that they can look up to,” said Cole.

The chief said it’s a small step, but one step closer to their goal. Their goal is to have 30% female officers by 2030. After Monday’s swearing-in, the department will be at 28%.

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