Behind this badge is the only female lieutenant in Victoria. “Once I put my mind on what I said I wanted to do, it was just staying focused and making sure that I achieve that goal,” says Lt. Eline Moya of VPD. We took a closer look at how female police officers are viewed around the Crossroads. “The gender issue I think in law enforcement is a dividing issue. We’re having more women coming out of college willing to choose this as a valid career field. But we still have the divide between the older and the younger generations,” says Officer Heather Montgomery with Port Lavaca P.D. In Victoria there are 14 female officers. There are four female officers in Port Lavaca. In Edna, there is 1 female officer. In Gonzales, there are 2 female officers. “Leadership comes top down. So if your leadership is embracing the concept of genders in policing, then it usually will filter down,” says Montgomery. Lieutenant moya agrees.
“I saw that there was a majority of men in law enforcement. I wanted to make that connection as a female officer to help a sexual assault victim, or to help that child who has gone through some sort of trauma event,” says Moya. I joined VPD officer Sherry Hornstein on patrol.
“I try to do my job by being respectful. You respect them, they’re going to respect you,” Officer Hornstein says. The job, originally made for a man, is yet to be tailored for a woman.
“The gear is one of the challenges, the weight of it and the bulk of it. Just getting used to carrying around that much weight,” Hornstein says. Most female officers experience challenges that male officers will never face.
We asked Officer Montgomery, “Do you feel like the job accommodates men more than women?”
“Yes, absolutely. Just even getting fitted for a vest is much more difficult for women as it is for men,” says Montgomery. Each day female officers face different challenges, but they all work toward the same goal. “It’s got to be you want to help the public, you want to protect the public, you got to get the bad guy off the street,” Hornstein says. “To know that the place that I live and the place that I work in, that I’m taking a part in helping the community and making it safer,” says Moya. “There is one thing I would like to see in my life before I retire. I would like to see a female chief.” Montgomery says.