Three members of the Collierville Police Department travelled to Nashville earlier this April to attend a national law enforcement conference. In addition to working in the law enforcement field, there was one very specific requirement for the participants – they must be female. Officers Madison Kimbrell, Cheri Lee, and Jennifer Pelletier represented the Collierville Police Department at the conference.
For the third year, the Tennessee Highway Patrol hosted the Women in Law Enforcement Conference for law enforcement professionals across North America. A total of 300 women attended, including 29 different agencies in Tennessee and a total of 49 agencies from 15 different states and Canada. Major Betty Blair of the Tennessee Highway Patrol was the founding organizer of the Women in Law Enforcement “Breaking the Glass Shield” conference, and Major Cheryl Sanders of the Tennessee Highway Patrol planned and organized the recent 2017 conference.
“The ‘Breaking the Glass Shield’ conference is designed to address issues specific to women in law enforcement by creating a forum for women to network and share experiences while developing skills to manage both their careers and daily lives,” said Major Sanders. “In doing this, we strengthen ourselves and the law enforcement community by training future leaders.”
The conference speakers were highly ranked officials, successful businesswomen and prominent political leaders. Justice Connie Clark of the Tennessee Supreme Court led a session titled “Standing on Tiptoes and Lifting a Barbell” and Ann Dyer, Senior Director of Southeast Transportation of Walmart spoke about “Leadership in a Male Dominated Profession.” Other prominent speakers included Governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez, ¬Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, and Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder of the TN Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
“The conference provided insight that while the ‘male versus female’ problem continues to exist, it exists throughout all levels of every department,” said Officer Madison Kimbrell. “Using that as motivation instead of discouragement and trying to break the glass ceiling is what the ultimate goal should be.”
Working for the Collierville Police Department has been Officer Kimbrell’s first job in the law enforcement field. With four years under her belt, she thoroughly enjoyed the conference and walked away with a refreshed feeling of motivation.
“We came into contact with some amazing women from local, out-of-state and federal departments, even some from Canada,” commented Officer Kimbrell. “Though there was an inherent attitude of how to succeed in a male dominated job, every speaker touched on obstacles they were able to overcome and subsequently become a respected professional.”
Officer Jennifer Pelletier has worked in law enforcement for 11 years, and has been with the Collierville Police Department since 2008. It was also her first time attending the conference.
“I truly feel that all the speakers were beneficial. Every one spoke of hard work, dedication, and to never give up. If you want it you can achieve it,” said Officer Pelletier.
(Pictured above at the conference L-R: Officer Jennifer Pelletier, Officer Cheri Lee and Officer Madison Kimbrell.)