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North Las Vegas police aim to increase number of women recruits to 30% by 2030

March is Women’s History Month and FOX5 is spotlighting how one local city is pushing to change the numbers in a career field long dominated by men.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 9:38 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- March is Women’s History Month and FOX5 is spotlighting how one local city is pushing to change the numbers in a career field long dominated by men.

According to the Department of Justice, women make up 13% of law enforcement officers across the country.

The women of the North Las Vegas Police Department are trying to balance the scales of justice and to recruit more to the force.

Sgt. Ann Taylor is a supervisor for NLVPD after working her way up the ranks over the last 17 years. Growing up, becoming a cop is something she never saw herself doing.

“Never crossed my mind. I did have a teacher when I was in high school who said, ‘Hey, you would be a good police officer,’ and I just laughed … I was like, there is no way,” she said.

Taylor shattered what’s known as the brass ceiling, becoming the first woman in SWAT.

“I was very, very nervous initially because there hadn’t been a female in this area … you kind of feel like it might be a boy’s club, but they were so accepting,” she said.

Taylor said women are needed on the force to make it stronger.

“Sometimes there is a fear when you have a female victim of males. It does help to have someone who is female for them to open up to. I had a situation last night on a call where there was a female victim of a violent crime and she specifically was asking for a female to talk to,” Taylor said.

Officer Lucia Perez oversees recruitment and getting more female officers to the department.

“Right now, we are at about 11%,” she said.

Perez said she always dreamed of a career in law enforcement.

“Honestly, my siblings used to watch ‘Cops’ all the time, ‘SWAT’ and ‘Law and Order,’ and every time I would watch them watching, I was like, ‘Oh, I want to do that, too,’” Perez said.

For Perez, her biggest challenge is not her sex, but her height.

“I’m 4′11″ and three quarters … my boots get me to 5′,” Perez said.

“When I go to different calls for service or when would pull people over, they would see this small person and sometimes they wouldn’t take me seriously, and I guess when I first came on, I realized that I needed to stand my ground, you know, being smaller. I needed to present myself as though I was 6′ tall,” Perez said. “I’ll come across females of my height and they’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, you’re a cop?’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, You can do it. There is not height restrictions.’”

North Las Vegas has an emphasis on recruiting a department that reflects the diversity of the community. This includes increasing the representation of women in recruitment classes to 30% by 2030.

The latest chief of police, Pamela Ojeda, who just retired, was the first female leader of NLVPD. Acting Chief Jacqueline Gravatt continues the agency’s female leadership.

Taylor said she hopes girls will be inspired by women in uniform rising through the ranks and says being an officer, being able to help people, has changed her life. One call 10 years ago stood out.

“I went on a domestic call with one of my female partners. The male half in the incident, the father, was drunk, and had physically abused the mother, and I remember when I walked into the house, there was a young girl probably like 7 or 8,” Taylor said.

That girl stayed at her desk the entire time officers were at her home.

“We placed the father under arrest and in the back of the police car, and the little girl gave me a drawing … I still have that picture,” Taylor said.

The drawing of her and her partner by the girl has hung in her locker for a decade, a constant reminder that what she and other women on the force do every day makes a difference.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a police officer in North las Vegas, click here, or to speak with a police recruiter, call 702-633-2255 or email joinnlvpd@cityofnorthlasvegas.com.