WACO, Texas — As Women's History Month comes to an end, the Waco Police Department is shining a spotlight on females in public safety. They hosted a Women in Public Safety Symposium on Thursday to bring women from several agencies together.
"Sitting in a room full of women in public safety has been nothing short of phenomenal," Emergency Communications and 911 Manager Susie Murray said of the event.
That phenomenal experience served as a networking opportunity and also offered inspiration for a new generation of women in the field.
Jordan Urssery is a student at Mary Hardin Baylor. She said she's wanted to get into public safety her whole life.
"I wanted to be a game warden," she said. "My dad convinced me to go talk to one of the male game wardens and they had told me that game wardens were not for women. They basically told me to give it up. So I did even though I really wanted to go into criminal justice."
She has recently gotten back on the criminal justice path and said events like these motivate her to continue following her dreams.
"It's more encouraging and makes me feel like the path I'm going down isn't wrong," she said.
Waco's Police Chief Sheryl Victorian has been an advocate for more women in criminal justice. Women currently make up only about 15% of law enforcement staff. The chief hopes to bring that up to 30% by 2030.
"Even though public safety tends to be a male-dominated sector or career field, women are breaking barriers," Murray said. "We are pushing through glass ceilings and we are redefining what women can do and what we are capable of."