Women Empowered: NIA Participants Anticipate Growing Female Leadership Presence

May 16, 2023 : Women in law enforcement are optimistic about the increasing representation of females in the field, despite their current low numbers. According to the 30×30 initiative, which aims to have women make up 30% of sworn personnel in the U.S. by 2030, women currently comprise only 12% of law enforcement officers and 3% of supervisors. However, three female participants from the National Public Safety Innovation Academy (NIA) cohort believe these figures will continue to rise.

Lt. Kathleen Ela of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, who has 18 years of experience in law enforcement, expressed her confidence in the growth of female representation. She highlighted the importance of influential women in her career and hoped their success would inspire young women to pursue law enforcement careers.

The NIA, an eight-week executive-level course, aims to help mid-level law enforcement and corrections personnel advance in their careers. The first cohort featured two female captains, including Capt. Nikki Bosley of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and one female supervisor, Cpl. Christina Gurrola of the Caldwell Police Department. With a 14% representation of women, the NIA cohort exceeded the average for law enforcement.

Participants in the NIA program learn from renowned subject matter experts and gain knowledge on crafting innovative policies for managing high-liability situations in the modern world of criminal justice. Bosley emphasized the program’s value in providing skills and knowledge to become better leaders within their agencies. The NIA program challenges participants physically and mentally, and its success relies on constantly adapting to changing trends and technology in the criminal justice field.

Ela stressed the importance of fulfilling obligations to the community and staying ahead of evolving trends. Bosley emphasized that the NIA program identifies crucial areas for law enforcement leaders to focus on and improve, keeping topics relevant to the current law enforcement environment.

The NIA program takes place at Polk State College’s Center for Public Safety, offering state-of-the-art facilities for training. The positive experiences and benefits gained from the program have led the participants to recommend it to other law enforcement leaders.

Overall, programs like NIA not only benefit individual participants but also contribute to the enhancement of law enforcement strategies and the communities they serve. The next cohort of the NIA program is set to begin in September, providing further opportunities for professional development in law enforcement.