California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 26

Schulz is giving a presentation on the topic today at the 7th annual Australasian Women and Policing Conference in Australia. In November, CPCA will host its sixth Women Leaders in Law Enforcement Training Symposium. Twenty years ago, when Lucy Carlton was sworn in as Los Altos Police Chief, there were only two other women chiefs in California. There are “so many variables” that determine whether somebody makes a good chief, she says. “I don’t believe gender plays as big a role,” she said, arguing that factors such as experience, communications skills and ability to get along with city management are far more important. She attributes the higher numbers “to the great mentoring and coaching these chiefs have received from both the men and women in their own departments as well as those in our profession.” Alicia Powers, who in 1996 retired from Hercules PD near San Francisco, adds: “As the pioneers in each role have proven capable of performing the job well, that has made the road easier for those who have followed.” Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler expressed a similar sentiment. “I am sure there are still a number of male officers in our profession that cannot fully accept a female as a partner, but this number is very much diminished from when I started in this profession,” says Steckler, who serves on the board of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is a past president of CPCA. “The fact is women are every bit as good as men in performing the essential functions of our job.” For her part, Urban says she hasn’t thought much about gender since starting her new job. She’s too busy getting acquainted with staff, city management and the community. Technology needs to be upgraded. Strategies need to be developed to improve public safety after a recent reduction in sworn staff from 200 to 190 officers. Doing better with fewer resources is nothing new for Urban. “I come from San Jose where we cut 184 sworn positions,” and still served the public effectively, she said. She says lines between gender, race and sexual orientation are blurring in law enforcement. San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore described her departure as a loss of one of “our best and brightest.” “I suspect, however, that there are still some locations where acceptance has been harder to achieve,” she says. “Someday, the ideal will be that hiring and promoting authorities are blind… and promote strictly on ability.” Added Judge LaDoris Cordell, the city’s Independent Police Auditor. “Diane broke the glass ceiling at SJPD by virtue of her hard work and determination. I have no doubt that she will bring that same work ethic and determination to her new job as the Chief of Police in Hayward.” Urban holds a master’s degree in public safety from the University of Boston, and her achievements in track and field fill the record books at Cal State East Bay, where she holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The three-time national champion and two-time All-American discus thrower broke the national record in 1985. She also holds the school record in the javelin and ranks second in the shot put. “They hired me to do a job and gender really is a peripheral variable,” she says. “I don’t think about it. To me, it’s about fit and qualifications. I am here to provide leadership and to ensure we continue to provide excellent service to the community.” • Cypress Chief Jackie Gomez-Whiteley and (Ret.) Orange Lt. John Whiteley 26 | Behind The Badge