Last week, Margarita Perez, Deputy Director of the Division of Adult Parole Operations served as the keynote speaker for the first annual John Aiken Women in Policing Conference.

The day-long conference was conducted at the University of Phoenix, Sacramento campus before an audience of students interested in law enforcement careers.
The purpose of the conference was to discuss women in the law enforcement profession, the contributions made, challenges of working in a field historically dominated by men, and challenges in law enforcement in the future.
The agencies represented included CDCR, Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) the Federal Bureau of Investigations, El Cerrito Police Department, Sacramento Police Department, the United States Postal Service Investigations Division and other agencies.
Perez reminded the audience that finishing school, having a career goal, and tackling each challenge that comes their way are critical building blocks of personal growth.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to live in a country where opportunities are limitless for those who choose to take advantage and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others,” Perez said. “For those of you who will eventually follow the law enforcement career path, you will learn, that becoming an effective peace officer does not magically result from good training or state-of-the-art equipment alone; it requires a true partnership between law enforcement and the citizens of this state.”

Perez cautioned the students that with challenges, comes disappointment. However those who are focused learn from mistakes and should channel those failures as positive experiences instead of accepting mediocrity.

“Today we have every opportunity at our disposal,” Perez said. “We cannot allow gender roles, ethnicity, geography, or superficial limits sometimes placed on use by others to be the reason we do not succeed – as we are only limited by our own imagination. No longer can we allow societal prejudices to direct our lives. The answers we seek no long come from outside, rather they come from within. We just need to learn how to find them and empower ourselves to be the best we can be.”

Later, Perez participated in a round table discussion with other law enforcement speakers and they discussed the challenges and opportunities for women in law enforcement. Several of the speakers answered questions from the audience about the reason for entering law enforcement. After the roundtable, each presenter met with participants to answer individual questions. The participants had the opportunity to acquire information from the law enforcement agencies present.

Overall, the participants were provided with a wealth of knowledge. Many participants stated they did not know there was such as vast pool of opportunity within the law enforcement arena. Several of the agencies offered information to the participants to help them make choices for their career path.

The University of Phoenix will sponsor the Women in Policing Conference annually. Participants and speakers thanked the University for its Willingness to sponsor the conference to increase the presence of women in law enforcement. Perez said the Division of Adult Parole Operations will make a commitment promoting the opportunity for college students to enter the field of law enforcement.