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Breaking Barriers: The Crucial Role of Women in Law Enforcement Leadership

In the traditionally male-dominated field of law enforcement, the emergence of women leaders is not just a welcome change but a vital necessity. As society evolves, recognizing the unique contributions of women in positions of authority within law enforcement is essential for fostering a more inclusive and effective criminal justice system.

Deschutes County law enforcement agencies have many amazing sworn women leading their agencies. A partial list includes Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Phillips, Sunriver Captain Komblum, Corporal Lawrence, Deschutes County 911 Director Sara Crosswhite, Deschutes County District Attorney Chief DDA Mary Anderson, and Bend Police Department Lt. McConkey, Sgt. Ksenzulak and Redmond Police Lt April Huey and Deschutes County Patrol & Probation Supervisors Barnes and Lowery.

We cannot forget to mention all of the woman who serve our community everyday and sworn and non-sworn positions. Rank is not required to be a leader and that is true when it comes to our woman in central Oregon law enforcement.

Women leaders bring a diverse perspective to law enforcement agencies, offering a holistic approach to community safety. Their presence challenges stereotypes, dispels gender biases, and fosters an environment that reflects the rich tapestry of our society. Doing so paves the way for a more empathetic and understanding law enforcement force.

Woman in Law Enforcement

One key aspect of the importance of women leaders in law enforcement lies in their ability to build trust and bridge gaps within the community. Research indicates diverse leadership enhances community relations, including women in key positions. Women leaders often excel in communication, de-escalation, and community engagement, critical elements in maintaining public trust.

Moreover, the inclusion of women in leadership roles serves as an inspiration for the next generation. Seeing women at the helm of law enforcement agencies, young girls can envision themselves breaking barriers and pursuing careers in this field. Representation matters, and the presence of women leaders in law enforcement sends a powerful message about equality, encouraging more women to consider and pursue careers in criminal justice.

In decision-making, studies have shown that diverse teams, including women, tend to be more innovative and effective in problem-solving. Women leaders bring different experiences and perspectives, challenging conventional thinking and promoting a more comprehensive understanding of complex issues. In law enforcement, where decisions profoundly impact communities, having a range of perspectives is valuable and necessary for making informed and equitable choices.

Addressing the specific needs of women within the criminal justice system is another critical aspect that women leaders can champion. They are better positioned to advocate for policies and procedures that consider women's unique challenges as law enforcement professionals and community members. This includes issues related to workplace inclusivity, addressing gender-based violence, and ensuring fair treatment within the criminal justice system.

In conclusion, the importance of women leaders in law enforcement cannot be overstated. Their contributions extend beyond breaking gender barriers; they bring a fresh perspective, build community trust, inspire the next generation, and enhance decision-making processes. Most excel in their criminal justice careers as mothers spouses at the same time. As we strive for a more just and equitable society, empowering and promoting women leaders in law enforcement is a step forward toward a brighter and more inclusive future.

Kent Vander Kamp recognizes, celebrates, and actively supports women's crucial role in shaping the landscape of law enforcement leadership. Kent's vision prioritizes the hiring and promotion based on talent, skill, merit and leadership to others.

To learn more about Kent Vander Kamp and his journey to to be your next Deschutes County Sheriff, visit

1 Comment

Unknown member
Mar 06

What will you implement at DCSO to remedy the long overdue recruitment of qualified female deputies in Patrol, Corrections, and Detectives' divisions? And to encourage the promotion process for female deputies in your first year on the job? And, will you reinstate the Chief Deputy position and if so, will you encourage the outside recruitment of a female Chief Deputy?

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