Twenty-Three Females Opt for a Career in ADJ/Law Enforcement at Southwest

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Women in Administrative Justice & Law Enforcement

Cedar Bluff, VA – Online degrees in criminal justice are popular with Southwest Virginia Community College students who hope to serve their community in a diverse array of criminal justice degree jobs. For decades this field was dominated by men.

According to FBI records, women make up nearly 27% of the total law enforcement officers in the U.S. In recent years, however, more women are increasingly seeking out law enforcement careers and pursuing higher education related to the field. Twenty-three (23) female students are currently enrolled in Administration of Justice/Law Enforcement programs at Southwest and the Perkins Office recently talked with four of these women about their career choices.

ShaeLynn Sutherland of Haysi, VA said that she comes with a family background in police work. Her goal is to complete her studies at Southwest, enter the Virginia State Police Academy, and become a State Trooper. ShaeLynn’s advice for women seeking a career in law enforcement is to not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.

McKenzie Owens of Grundy, VA has always been interested in law and criminal justice and is working toward a career with the FBI. As a female student at Southwest, McKenzie had the opportunity to job shadow at the local sheriff’s office and ride along with a female police officer during her daily routine. She said during that time she received valuable encouragement to work harder at becoming a female officer. McKenzie will receive her Associate’s Degree after completing one additional semester at Southwest.

Charley Stevens is completing a certificate in Legal Studies and an Associate’s Degree in Administrative Justice at Southwest so that she will be able to provide her family with a bright future. Charley then plans to transfer to a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program to pursue a career in Juvenile Probation. Stevens says that she wants to stand

in the gap for the youth and help influence them for the better. She lives in Whitewood, VA with her husband and two sons.

Lauren Berry of Richlands, VA is pursuing a career in criminal justice so that she can go into the field of forensic science. Lauren would like to work with the FBI. She not only wants to work in forensic science but also wants knowledge of the legal aspect of forensics. Lauren’s advice is to be as headstrong and motivated as any male because it is a predominantly male career field.

According to the National Institution of Justice, women are sought after for the emotional intelligence they bring to the table. They often surpass their male colleagues in their ability to mediate encounters with victims or perpetrators. Studies show that women police officers can be more adept than their male counterparts in using their emotional intelligence to attenuate conflicts. Women are increasingly in demand for roles in cybersecurity, forensics, counter-terrorism task forces, police departments, FBI, profiling, and other related areas.

For information on how to obtain a Certificate in Law Enforcement and/or an Associate of Applied Science in Administration of Justice, contact Jerry Stinson, Program Head, Administration of Justice, jerry.stinson@sw.edu or (276) 964-7203.