Mirroring a national trend, five South Florida cities have hired female police chiefs in the past 18 months, reports the Sun Sentinel. Women are now top cops in Hallandale Beach, Lauderhill, West Palm Beach, Miami Gardens, Medley, Boynton Beach and El Portal. “It’s still a male-dominated profession, but I think women have made enormous strides, and I think you’re seeing a culmination of two decades worth of women rising up in their departments,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. It typically takes up to 20 years for law enforcement officers to move up the ranks to police chief, he said.
Even with the recent increase, fewer than 2 percent of women make it to top brass positions, experts say. Just 16 women lead Florida’s 300-plus police departments. Female police officers were first allowed to patrol streets and respond to emergencies in the 1960s, historians say. Florida saw it’s first female police chief in Minneola, west of Orlando, in 1979 when Sue Hogan was sworn in. Last year, her 25-year-old granddaughter began following in her footsteps and became a police officer in Clermont.