Phoenix teen girl gets ready for career in law enforcement

Sept. 12 is National Police Woman's Day, a day that celebrates and recognizes the contributions and achievements of women in law enforcement.

"I think it's awesome. It shows the appreciation and the dedication their hard work," said Tiffany Ornelas, a teen who is pursuing a career in the field.

Tiffany is a senior at Franklin Police and Fire High School, a school within the Phoenix Union High School District. She is looking to go into the field of criminal behavior analysis.

"They study the minds of criminals. That's something that interests me," said Tiffany. "I grew up watching a lot of Criminal Minds, so that sparked my interest, and that's why I chose Franklin."

Tiffany said the fact she is a girl is what made her want to join the law enforcement field: she knows she can bring a lot to the field.

"I would say a lot of hard work. I'm someone who is driven with my goals, and dedication as well," said Tiffany.

Tiffany also said teachers like Gayle Deaver inspire her.

"We talk a lot about breaking things, whether those are good things or bad things, traditions," said Deaver. "Some traditions are wonderful, but some can be limiting, so we talk a lot about taking those risks."

Deaver is thrilled more girls are becoming interested in the male-dominated field.

"We need more girls in all of these things, and there's people every day that are having their worst day, and a lot of those are women," said Deaver. "To have a woman to respond to that means a lot to our society."

How many law enforcement officials are women?

According to a 2019 report released by the National Institute of Justice, which is an organization within the U.S. Department of Justice, women constitute less than 13% of total officers, and a much smaller proportion of leadership positions.

"Despite efforts to increase representation, the percentage of women in law enforcement has remained relatively stagnant for the past few decades," a portion of the report reads.

On Phoenix Police's website, it is stated that women make up 14% of sworn officers on the department, and the department is working to increase the number. The website also states that Phoenix Police is part of the 30x30 initiative, which describes itself as a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations with a goal of increasing women representation in police recruit classes to 30% by the year 2030.