"I believe the highest calling anyone can receive is to serve."
It all started with one brave Native American woman……. Julia Wades in the Water. A member of the Blackfeet Indian Nation, Julia Wades in the Water retired in the 1930’s after 25 years of serving Indian Country Law Enforcement. (Photo courtesy of Blackfoot Digital Library). Since that time, women throughout Indian Country have continued joining forces by making law enforcement their career choice.
Today women have become strong partners, standing beside their male counterparts, in making Indian Country safer. Whether they are a part of BIA-OJS or work for a partner tribal agency, today you will see that women are our uniform police officers, agents/investigators, correction officers, administrators, dispatchers, support staff, analysts, supervisors and victim specialists. All are an equally important part of providing justice, making our communities safer and meeting the needs of Indian Country law enforcement. Being a good law enforcement officer, or holding one of the other critical positions which help achieve the agencies mission, is not gender specific. It all comes down to well-trained professionals, who have a sincere interest of protecting and serving others. Most important, it comes from a relationship built of trust and mutual respect. The partnership between men and women in law enforcement provides a valuable resource. The team effort allows different perspectives that are unique to how males and females may handle situations. Working side by side in performing all aspects of their duties also provides agents/officers the chance to use different approaches in a situation, depending on the circumstances, all for the ultimate goal of getting justice for victims.
Women and men officers and agents are required to go through the same hiring, screening and selection process. Police Officers, Dispatchers, and Corrections Officers attend the United State Indian Police Academy in Artesia, NM. Special Agents go through the FLETC Criminal Investigator Training Program in Glynco, GA. They participate in basically the same training, with the physical requirements being established by FLETC based on age and sex.
"I would definitely encourage other women to join/be a part of the Indian Country-Law Enforcement workforce. I feel that we are living in a new era and have reached a turning point in gender specific roles in Law Enforcement. Women are now serving in some of the most crucial roles within the Law Enforcement workforce and are making positive impacts on not only within the profession but the communities as well. I honestly have not run into any challenges where my gender played a significant factor in. I am a prior U.S. Marine so working in a "male dominant” setting is somewhat normal to me. One thing that I have learned in the past ten years is that you (females) are just as capable of doing anything a male can do in any work setting. I don’t believe in treating one gender differently than the other and I feel that everyone (regardless of sex) should put forth their best effort in all aspects of life. Fairness and equality amongst males/females is something I feel is slowly developing in our society and in this profession and I have a feeling that later down the road we are going to be seeing more females in executive positions."Persingula Elk Shoulder, Program Analyst
It provided the "opportunity to explore a new career in an area I had never worked in before.” As a program analyst, what specific training did you take? "FBI training on Crime Reporting as it was interesting learning how Police Departments and the US report crimes. Criminal and Intelligence Analysis training was exciting to learn how to predict crimes, types of crimes using statistical analysis”Arlene Armijo, Victim Specialist
"As a Victim Specialist I did not have to go through the academy, but I do receive training that helps me work along side law enforcement. There are various jobs that one can do within law enforcement, civilian or commissioned, there is a lot of work to be done so that an agency succeeds. I strongly encourage women to be a part of the law enforcement field; women bring a different approach and way of thinking that can enhance a field that is typically male dominated."
"Although females in law enforcement is not a new concept, but females in our organization is. With every success, each lays the ground-work for the next generation of female leaders. In total, I have spent 141 weeks in training preparing me for my career in law enforcement. Thirty-seven of these were spent at FLETC, Glynco, GA. I think the training is the first test of sacrifice. If you can make it through that, you know your calling is true."Patricia Broken Leg-Brill, Deputy Associate Director of Corrections
"My role in Law Enforcement Corrections is reflective of my traditional cultural teachings as a Lakota Woman. It goes beyond incarcerating our people. I got into the Corrections profession because of my purpose as a public servant which is to care for our people in a manner that is safe and humane, with dignity for all. I started my Correctional Officer career working in an Indian Jail and was promoted through the ranks with this thought process as my guide. The Corrections Profession in the Office of Justice Services has enhanced my career through the training programs which include supervision, programmatic, management, and leadership. There are so many opportunities in this profession for the advancement and promotion for women. Come join us, as we continue to serve Indian Country!"
I always wanted to be an agent, but never imagined such an amazing career. Being able to do the type of work I wanted to do, and serve Indian Country has been a challenging and rewarding experience. This is definitely a field I hope more women would consider joining. During my career, there have been times where I had to deal with individuals who questioned if women should be in this line of work.........but they were the exception, not the rule. The men and women I worked with are part of a team, trying to help each other, and all having the same goal... to make Indian Country safe. It's being part of the law enforcement family and belonging to a professional and hard working team. Agents received training through the Criminal Investigation Training Program at FLETC, Glynco, Ga. When I went through CITP, failing was not an option. And from that time it was worth every minute to be able to be an Agent and do this job. I was also able to meet agents from so many other Federal agencies that I had never even heard of when first entering federal service. But for me, serving Indian Country was definitely the right choice."Mary McQuillen, Special Agent (Retired)
"When I started my career in the 80’s, specifically 1983, I can remember being told to 'stay put' so I didn’t get hurt. Even though I was hired as a uniform officer, I was used more for clerical duties, compared to my male counter parts. That was how it was then. I kept applying for various trainings. Initially I was asked why I wanted to go to the trainings, but they eventually let me go. I was later hired at the Northern Pueblos Agency as a Police Officer. Then I got into investigations at the Southern Pueblos Agency where I had the chance to go to FLETC. During my career I was sent to IPA as a training Sergeant on detail because they wanted women for the female students to have someone to relate to. I eventually transferred to the Academy full time in 1994. Throughout my career I was an Agent at the Northern Pueblos Agency, Internal Affairs, Chief of Police at the Southern Pueblos Agency, Agent at Laguna Agency, and also the Colorado River Agency where I retired. I would encourage other women to pursue this career and recommend that they have a strong support system especially when they have families. I am glad I made BIA-OJS and law enforcement my career choice. I got to do a lot things I would have never experienced had I not worked for the BIA."
"I got into Law Enforcement because I felt it was a great career choice that suited me in that I have a strong desire to help our Native American community members by assisting them in ways others can’t. In 2012, I was introduced to the Special Agent position within the Bureau of Indian Affairs-Office of Justice Service and I was very intrigued. I spoke with a few agents about the position and I was immediately drawn into that line of work and knew it was for me. I have always been one to challenge myself and I knew that I would get that if I became an agent. A year later I applied and got a position at one of the busiest duty stations in Indian Country. To this day I am very happy that I made the decision to become a Federal Agent because it has proven to be one of the most rewarding careers. I attended the Criminal Investigators Training Program in September 2013 in Glynco, GA. The course was 56 training days total and was a basic criminal investigator program that focused on the knowledge, skills and abilities that federal agents must possess. I thought this training was a wonderful program because I did not have any prior Patrol Officer training under my belt and so there were many classes that were hands on and were very beneficial to those who had no prior Law Enforcement experience. It was also nice to meet and work with other agents from agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, Capital Police, U.S. Forest Service, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service."
"I am not a Sworn L.E. Officer so I didn’t go through Academy for Investigation or Police training. However, I did attend various trainings for being Program Analyst and they have all been great trainings in preparing me for the position I am currently in. Peer Support and Criminal Intelligence Analysis, FOIA and UCR trainings which I feel are probably the top trainings for supporting others in this field and I consider them to be invaluable and I feel they have prepared me should I ever need to use them to support my peers in time of need, support my coworkers in the work they do and enables us to work more efficiently as a team."Deirdre Wilson, Correctional Program Specialist (Retired)
"I got into corrections because it was a challenge and exciting. Every day is different. I chose a career in corrections was a personal decision based on the fact that the climate inside the jail can be determined or recognized by correction staff. Whereas with police, it is questionable when you go to a call, what you are facing. I would recommend other women getting into this line of work. It is a good career path. Law Enforcement is a male dominant society in itself, but women in the career path in LE can move up also. I have been in this field for 35 years and have no regrets."
"My goal has always been to be the one who steps up and takes on new roles and responsibilities, and to instill positive change."
Job Series and Title
Special Agent, 1811's
Police Officer, 0083's