The Norman Transcript

Crime/Courts

February 23, 2014

On the beat: Women in blue say being an officer is worth the challenge

NORMAN — Norman’s women in blue exude confidence. Perhaps it’s because they survived pepper spray, being tased, and multiple physical and mental challenges to graduate the police academy and earn the right to wear the uniform.

Or perhaps it’s because they’ve learned to balance family life with protecting and serving the community — sometimes at all hours of night and day.

Or maybe it’s because they know defense tactics, self-defense, how to shoot, how to negotiate and that their fellow officers always have their backs.

Maybe it’s all of the above.

Saturday, some of Norman’s brightest and best female officers conducted a Women in Policing Expo at Norman North High School in hopes of finding a few more good women for the next police academy.

“If you really, really want to make a difference, this is the job for you,” Officer Glenda Vassar told potential recruits.

In 2012, Vassar became the first female officer at the Norman Police Department ever selected as officer of the year. In May 2013, she was involved in a shooting and received the Medal of Valor for her conduct that day.

The message was clear — women can be very effective police officers.

While the focus was on women at Saturday’s expo, the event was open to men and women and contained valuable information for anyone interested in becoming a police officer.

Sgt. Kellee Robertson has been with the force since 1999. She spent four years as a patrol officer, has worked with Special Investigations, has been a K9 handler, worked Interstate Interdiction and is currently assigned in the crimes against children unit.

Robertson also spent a decade as a fitness instructor with the police department and talked to potential recruits about fitness, nutrition and defensive tactics.

“I still continue to prepare every day for the next day because you never know what’s going to happen,” Robertson said.

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