COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia city leaders announced Wednesday that Jill Schlude will be the city's next police chief, making her the first woman to hold the position.
Schlude says she hopes that during her time in the position she is able to inspire other women to work in law enforcement.
"We've come a long way and I appreciate it, I appreciate the city manager's faith in me...and it's not lost on me that hopefully other women will see that they can do this job as well," Schlude said.
In a news conference after the announcement, Mayor Barbara Buffaloe said that she is excited to have another woman work in the industry. However, Buffaloe said that in being Columbia's second-ever female mayor, she believes women can sometimes face more challenges than men.
"Our police chief is now going to be under additional scrutiny that probably male predecessors were not under," Buffaloe said. "I know from experience they're held to a different standard."
The lack of women in law enforcement extends beyond Columbia.
According to Communications Director for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Mike O'Connell there are 17,355 people in Missouri that have an active POST license. This means that they are eligible to work as law enforcement officers.
Of the 17,000, only 1,993 are women.
According to the 30x30 Initiative, women make up 12% of sworn officers, and 3% of police leadership in the United States. As for Columbia, Buffaloe said that increasing the number of females and ensuring they are represented in all city departments is crucial, noting that Columbia's population is 51% female.
"Making sure that our community sees themselves reflected in those that are working in this space, especially one as important as keeping our community safe," Buffaloe said.
Schlude will officially be sworn into office on Dec. 4.