First-ever all female officer shift at Manteno Police Department captured with selfie

MANTENO, Ill. (WLS) -- History was recently made at a suburban police department.

"When we were all standing in the break room? We're like oh my God, it's only us today," said Officer Miranda Sinadinos.

For the first time ever, the Manteno Police Department had a shift staffed entirely by female officers.

"We're like we should probably capture this moment. Officer Sinadinos put her selfie arm out and captured the moment and it just kind of took off," said Officer Jessica Rourke.

The selfie of officers Sinadinos, Rourke and Karen Brandt was posted on the department's Facebook page.

"There was mostly good comments. There was some negative, which is expected, but mostly good," said Officer Sinadinos.

Law enforcement is still a male-dominated field. The ABC7 Data team found that nationally, 14% of police officers are women. Women make up 16% of police officers in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Officer Rourke was once the only woman on the force in Manteno. Now, three out of the 20 officers on staff are women.

"We didn't even have a female locker room when I started. We had these magnetic things where one would be like a female officer changing or male one," she said.

Many departments struggle with recruiting women.

"We're not a white male community. So I would like to see 50% female in our department," said Chief Alan Swinford of the Manteno Police Department.

Swinford believes the community benefits from having more female police officers.

"We're trying to serve our community, the best way possible, provide the best possible service. When you only have one worldview of a male perspective, you can't provide the best possible service," he said.

With just how the scheduling works at this department, Swinford said sometimes women will be the only ones on duty for a shift, keeping this community safe and inspiring young girls.

"It makes no difference that if I have men backing me up or the two girls, I feel comfortable with any of them backing me up," Rourke said.

She and Sinadinos are hoping with time a selfie of a female-only police shift won't be so remarkable.

"It makes you feel so empowered to be able to do this job because everybody does think it's a male field and it's not. Females have a place here for sure 100%," Sinadinos said.
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