Two women join City Police force

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- They are young, motivated and doing what they have always wanted to do.
And it's only hard work that has got them to where they are.
That's why police officers Amber Walter, 23, and Angela Lick, 32, with the Niles City Police Department don't mind working odd hours and long shifts.
Walter graduated from Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Police Academy and has worked as a patrolling officer for the Niles City Police Department for 14 months.
She has 19 months of experience working as a police officer.
Lick just recently graduated, also from the Kalamazoo-based Police Academy, and started working as a patrolling officer for the city police two weeks ago.
Lick, however, has worked as a police dispatcher here in Niles since 1993.
Walter, on the other hand, said she first became interested in police work as a second grader while watching a police show on TV where one of the main characters was a female police officer.
As female police officers, Lick and Walter first-handedly experience and get an understanding of how the community views women in the police force.
And, although most people appreciate their presence, others don't.
But Lick said the people who do appreciate their presence at the scene of an incident, perhaps do so because women take more time to take care of the emotional needs of people than some male police officers would.
Walter, however, said when patrolling with male reserve police officers, some people will address the male even after she has explained that she is in charge of the situation.
Some people may be reluctant to see women working as police officers because women are usually perceived to not be as strong as males.
And, Lick admits that female police officers have to physically assert themselves more than the male officers.
However, she said strength shouldn't necessarily always be measured by upper body strength.
Walter supports Lick's comment.
Although women might not be as strong as men, Walter said women can certainly become as strong as men if they work hard enough.
Walter and Lick would like to see more women in the police force.
Lick said currently there are few women working in commanding positions, with K-9 dog patrols and in SWAT teams.
They hope to see that change in the future.
Having worked in the police department for a little over a year, unlike Lick who has been a part of the police force community in Niles for 10 years, Walter enjoys working here.
She appreciates being able to work for a police department that is positive to female police officers.
In a short time she has formed emotional bonds with the officers she works with.
But although being a police officer is what she has always wanted to do, she is concerned with combining her police work with family life.
Lick agrees, but the positive sides of being a police officer outweighs the negative sides.

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