IOWA (KMTV) — The Iowa Department of Public Safety is working hard to diversify its staff.
"Before going into law enforcement, I was a middle school teacher for a few years, and then I joined the military. I was in the Navy for five years and then that's when I joined the Iowa State Patrol. I'm currently the highest-ranking trooper for females in the state patrols," said Lt. Mindy Coe.
"I got my master's degree in business and worked in private business for about a year prior to getting hired with the Department of Public Safety. I started as a special agent and worked major crimes, homicides, and those kinds of things, and then was promoted up through the ranks to director of the DCI. The director of the DCI is the same rank as a Colonel of the State Patrol," said Director Charis Paulson of the Division of Professional Development and Support Services.
Both of these women are successful and have earned respect in the force. They know how important it is to include more women on their team.
"There is also research as far as women, in particular, that shows us that we have less chance of using force during encounters. We diffuse situations more often than we resort to force," said Lt. Coe.
The entire state of Iowa has a female population of 50.3% while the Department of Public Safety only has a female population of 6.4%. They are looking to increase their numbers to better represent the areas they serve.
"Were highlighting that we offer alternate duty to our females during pregnancy. When they find out they are pregnant and they are ready to go off on alternate duty, that is an option," said Paulson.
Pay is not based on gender.
"That's by contract now, so everyone is paid the same based on their rank," said Paulson.
There are five different divisions throughout the department including the Iowa State Patrol, Division of Criminal Investigation, Narcotics Investigation, Fire Investigation, and the Intelligence Bureau.
"Any women out there who are interested in law enforcement as a career, please reach out to us. You're going to have a lot of questions, and we can help you answer those," said Lt. Coe.