Sept. 12 is National Police Woman Day. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, women make up only 13 percent of the police force.
Officer Sofie Martinez with Waco Police Department understands what it's like to be a minority in a field dominated by men.
"I was sworn in in 1997 and they didn't have uniform shirts for females," said Martinez. "They were male shirts so I just wore the smallest one they had."
Martinez served as an officer in the Army for 11 years before she went to the police academy. She's now one of 30 female sworn-in officers with WPD. There are around 250 sworn-in officers with WPD.
"I knew I wanted to be a police officer ever since I was a little girl back in second grade," said Martinez. "A DPS officer came to visit us and it just stuck with me."
Women make up a small portion of police departments across the country and even fewer earn the title of chief.
Bellmead Police Chief Lydia Alvarado started her career as a jailer 30 years ago.
"I decided pretty quickly that I actually wanted to go to the academy and be the one bringing them in," said Alvarado. "I received some push back from my supervisors at the time because it was going to mess up their shifts, is what they told me, in the jail and that I actually wasn't going to amount to anything, so it wouldn't matter."
That negative comment lit a fire inside Alvarado. She used it as motivation to finish at the top of her class, which leads to her to becoming Bellmead's very first female police chief almost seven years ago.
"I actually went back to the person who made that comment and thanked them!" said Alvarado.
Including Alvarado, there are just four female officers in her department of 21 sworn-in officers.
"I just decided to, when I got into it, that I was not only going to just be an officer. I would move up the most I could," said Sergeant Brenda Kinsey with BPD.
Kinsey started in dispatch, then became a jailer before joining the police force.
Kinsey may be underrepresented in this field, but she never feels unfulfilled. She's known at the "Candy Officer" around Bellmead. Her car is always packed with toys and treats for the local kids.
"I was told from even family members that it's a man's job," said Kinsey. "As long as you're out here doing your job it doesn't matter if you're a male or a female."
Each of these women are committed to protecting our communities while hoping to inspire the next generation of female officers.
"Any little girl that has a dream or a goal, she can do it," said Martinez. "As long as she doesn't let anyone get in her way and convince her that she's not capable."
The U.S. Department of Justice reports the number of families in law enforcement has gone up over the years. Back in the 1970s, women made up just 2 percent of the force.
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