More than 30 women particpated in the inaugural annual conference for LIFE.
With more than 100 women graduating from a leadership training program for female executives, the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas added an annual conference to help participants engage in continuing education and networking opportunities.
“We have seen quite a lot of promotions among these groups of women,” said Magdalena Denham, Program Manager at LEMIT. “We have seen a lot of networking and quite a bit more momentum. We expect to see more transformational roles for women in law enforcement over the next couple of years.”
One of the hundred law enforcement leaders who have participated in the program. Women represent 10 to 15 percent of law enforcement nationally, but only 1 to 5 percent make it into top leadership ranks. Only 2 percent of women in Texas occupy the highest position – that of Chief of Police.
To combat that trend, the Professional Development Program at LEMIT introduced Leadership Inventory for Female Executives (LIFE), the first offering in a suite of specialized, personalized development opportunities. Six classes of women have graduated from the program, including representatives from China and Phoenix.
A group made a presentation on role models during a recent LIFE session. About 30 graduates of the LIFE program participated in the July conference, which included sessions on wellness and nutrition, recruitment of minorities, local issues in homeland security, portfolio development, and leadership. The program was developed and presented by LIFE graduates; there was only one outside presenter during the 2-1/2 day program.
One of the presentations focused on how to recruit minority law enforcement officers – whether ethnic, cultural, gender or sexual preference – to better reflect the communities served. The woman discussed creative programs that can attract minorities to the job.
Badges from some of the agencies represented at LIFE. Another focus of the conference was how to address homeland security at the local level. As the issue become more omnipresent, local law enforcement agencies are being asked to participate in task forces, and policy issues.
The program also assisted women with portfolio development, using tools such as LinkedIn and PreparingTexas.org to help build their resume and advertise their skills and talents. LinkedIn in a business oriented social media site for professional networking, while PreparingTexas.org is emergency management center to share information about skills and talents to better coordinate efforts in an emergency.
These woman share a unique bond and networking opportunities. The session also discussed ways to empower female leaders through continuing education, taking advantage of training opportunities, overcoming obstacles and addressing change.
Finally, the group discussed how LIFE can leave a legacy through its quarterly newsletter and social media. The group discussed the development of a password protected, social media site that will provide more timely information on topics of importance to the membership.