Keynote speaker Jan Glenn-Davis, the first woman to be named Police Chief in California, mesmerized the packed audience with the trials and tribulations of more than 30 years of experience in police work, ending with a message of strength to all the women in attendance taken from Maya Angelou’s poem, And Still We Rise.
Her powerful talk and unprecedented experiences were among many stories and words of advice of the participants at “Women in Law Enforcement: Maximizing Our Opportunity by Realizing Our Potential,” on March 24. Among the speakers and participants were President Marie-Elaine Burns, City Councilmember Desley Brooks, OPD Captain Drennon Lindsey, the new OPD Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick, and a panel discussion by women in the legal field, FBI, probation, and California Highway Patrol, among other fields.
The conference, which was designed to introduce high school students to the field of law enforcement as well as encourage females currently in the field, was planned by Margaret Dixon, herself one of the most powerful women in law enforcement in California. As a retired 25-year OPD veteran, she now directs Merritt’s Administration of Justice Program and has dedicated her life to letting the women (and men) in her program and in the community know that anything is possible.
“I wanted to bring together the most powerful women I know as inspiration and encouragement to those women who may be interested in going into the field,” says Ms. Dixon, who gave the closing remarks. “The fact that these women hold so many different jobs shows all of the opportunities available. Women need to know that there is a support system out there and that whatever criminal justice field they want to go into, there will be someone to help mentor them and encourage them to persevere and that no door will ever be closed.”