More female officers in Moline police department compared to national average

The national average for female police officers is 12 percent — Moline police department’s staff is 14 percent female.

MOLINE, Illinois -- Moline's police department has doubled the number of female police officers on the force in the last ten years.

11 women make up about 14 percent of the department. The national average is 12 percent. 

Officer MacKenzie Comer says she doesn't particularly notice the ratio because everyone is doing the same job.

She, and Officer Jen Laud, hold themselves to the same standards as the men.

"Whether you're male or female, at some point you're going to encounter someone you can't handle," Comer says.

Both Comer and Laud agree that strength can be a disadvantage in the field, but there are other advantages as well.

"It's using our words, being able to talk to people and having them do what we need," Laud says.

"If you're a person that doesn't respect women, you probably don't respect women police officers," Comer says. "It's like they think we're playing dress up or something."

As for other advantages, Laud says women tend to be more susceptible to talking to female police officers, especially in domestic situations.

Comer says the job requires not only physical strength, but mental strength that she and her peers are more than capable of.

Chief Darren Gault owes the increase to more qualified women applying for the department.

"It is nice to look up to other women in this department that take me under their wing," Comer says.

Gault says women tend to come and stay on the force thanks to equal pay. Union contracts ensure that both men and women are paid the same salary, depending on their experience.

The department is looking to expand the women's locker room, as more women are expected to be hired every year.