Springfield Police Academy Sees Record Number of Women

By Lindsay Clein

Published 04/02 2014 10:24PM

Updated 04/02 2014 10:35PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --  We see them on the streets patrolling, protecting and serving our community.  But how much do we really know about what it takes to be a police officer?

KOLR10 visited recruits at in the Springfield Police Department's 64th Police Academy Wednesday and learned there is a record number of women taking that career path.

More women are going blue.  Of Springfield's 25 recruits, seven are women.  That's the highest number of females attempting to join the force since the year 2000.

"I love the look on people's faces when they find out I am in the police academy and that's what I'm going for," says Recruit Gena Cecil.

Cecil is one of the Springfield Police Academy's seven women joining the force.

"I am very proud to say out of 200 some odd people, I was chosen to do this for this profession," she says.  "It's a dream come true."

Cecil says a criminology class at Missouri State University made her want to throw on the blue suit and take on the flashing lights.

"Loved the decision since day one," she says.

Springfield Police say they're trying to recruit more women.

"It helps us serve the community better when we have people that connect in different ways with different parts of the community," says Lieutenant Scott Umbarger with the Springfield Police Department.

"I think it's great," says Recruit Cory Johnson.  "I was surprised myself and it's great we have women wanting to get out here in law enforcement and do the job."

Before this, the highest number of women to go through the academy was five.  That was back in the year 2000.

"Everybody is trained the same and meets the same standards when they graduate," says Lieutenant Umbarger.  "So there's no difference when they graduate between the men and the women as far as what they can and can't do."

"They're holding their own," says Johnson.  "They're doing a good job in PT and DT and everything out here-- driving and in the classroom-- and it's been a good time, I've enjoyed getting to know them."

As for Cecil, don't let the looks fool you.  Remember, big things come in small packages.

"What I get most often is, 'don't you know you're little?' she said laughing.  And yes, yes I do-- but it's always what I've wanted to do and it's not always about size."

The Springfield Police Academy lasts for 26 weeks and gives the recruits many chances to do hands-on training exercises to help prepare them for the job.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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