In November 2014, 23 female officers, representing 16 law enforcement agencies across the state of Arizona, attended the first Leadership Inventory for Female Executives (LIFE) class held outside the state of Texas.
The inaugural Texas session, created through the cooperation between the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) at Sam Houston State University and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) at Bramshill Police College (United Kingdom) was conducted in November 2010.
Lt. Paula VeachLIFE is designed to bridge the existing gap of female representation at executive levels of law enforcement in Texas and nationwide. The goal of the course is to offer a venue for executive development among existing and future female leaders in policing.
The historical event in Mesa, Arizona was the brainchild of Lt. Paula Veach of the Phoenix Police Department, who attended the July 2013 LIFE program at LEMIT.
“I knew that LIFE was something I wanted for the women in my state,” said Lt. Veach. “We must leverage the skills, knowledge, and ability of every person in our organization in order to truly succeed…I want women to feel empowered and confident in themselves. I want them to know and believe they can make a difference, even if it's just for the people around them. But, to do this, they must engage and act. It isn't enough to sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to get the job done. That's how LIFE got to Arizona.”
Lt. Veach attended the LIFE program in Texas as part of her doctoral studies at Arizona State University, where she is studying gender, identity, and male congenial environments with an emphasis on leadership. Lt. Veach found that the needs of women in preparing for promotions in law enforcement differ from those of men, and she was seeking a research-based program which addressed issues identified in her study, such as networking and mentoring.
Lt. Veach participated in a group presentation at LIEE at LEMIT.Cathy Masters, In-Service Coordinator for the Arizona Peace Officer Standards & Training Board, helped launch the program in Arizona. She said the program is helping to break down walls and propel individual careers, removing obstacles for women along the way.
“I believe LIFE offered the opportunity to see more successful women in one place, helping to realize that there are more of us who we can reach out to when we need a connection,” said Masters. We are not alone. We are strong and we have the duty to grow stronger and be role models for all others.”
Lt. Veach and Master hope this is the first of many programs to come in their state.
"LIFE is an extraordinarily personal development process that helps one identify goals,” said Dr. Rita Watkins, Executive Director of LEMIT. “The real outcomes are ones a woman can build on. LEMIT is proud of its offering of LIFE, as well as the program in Arizona, and looks forward to more opportunities for women in the future."
LIFE helps women build networks within law enforcement.To date, LEMIT has sponsored 11 classes, with three more scheduled in 2015. In addition to the LIFE class, LEMIT host an annual LIFE conference and for ongoing networking and education. LIFE alumni are encouraged to submit accomplishments, articles or announcements for the quarterly newsletter, LIFELINE.
“LEMIT is looking forward to the building on its relationship with Arizona and developing life-long cohorts with other states across the country,” said Yvette Shorten, Program Lead for LIFE at LEMIT.