Writer / Jamie Hergott
Shannon Trump is proud to be among the last of the first, when it comes to women in law enforcement. Nearly 20 years into her own law enforcement journey, Trump is the deputy chief of professional standards at the City of Noblesville Police Department, as well as the newly elected president of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE). While these are major accomplishments, Trump and her agency want to see more recruitment of female officers to better serve their communities.
To accomplish this, her department signed NAWLEE’s 30×30 Initiative in June. The goal of this initiative is to increase the representation of women in police recruit classes, specifically by 30% by the year 2030.
“Many initiatives revolve around race and ethnicity, and we still want that,” Trump says. “Our community is also 50% female, so to have a true representation, our agency should be 50% female. More diversity makes us all better.”
Trump is among 12% of women in law enforcement nationwide, and the higher the ranks get, the lower the number of females become. In fact, only 3% of high-ranking officers are women.
The initiative was born out of the lack of policies protecting women, as well as an uninviting culture in law enforcement. For example, many agencies don’t have a maternity policy protecting women who want to start a family. The Noblesville agency just added a maternity policy a year and a half ago.
“I always knew our pregnant officers would be treated right, but what if I’m not here?” Trump says. “We need to be looking at our policies and make a concerted effort to make sure our policies are inclusive.”
The initiative is a way for agencies to be held accountable in their efforts to draw in and make room for those who haven’t typically felt welcome at the table, or who have been intimidated by the process and career of law enforcement.
“We want women to know we want you to be here,” Trump says. “Unfortunately, a lot of this has been our own fault for not wanting to change, and for perpetuating myths about this kind of work. It’s on us to change the culture.”
Trump says women bring many qualities to law enforcement that are important and necessary. Research shows women use less force in general, and less excessive force. They are named in fewer complaints in lawsuits.
“We need so many types of people,” Trump says. “It’s up to us to show that. We aren’t always speeding down alleyways, busting down doors and dragging people out. We do that, but we also need women who excel at communication, technology and investigative skills.”
Another major aspect of the initiative is research. Trump has been in her position for a year and a half, and has spent time asking the community what types of barriers keep women from pursuing careers in law enforcement.
“When you start a career like this, there are a lot of milestones,” Trump says. “First female field training officers, first to attend the national academy, etcetera. I’ve never had a female mentor, never had a female trainer, never had a female sergeant. The female officers coming behind me can’t say that. If you don’t see it, you don’t know you can be it. That’s so important.”
The department is the first agency in Hamilton County to sign the initiative, followed by the Carmel Police Department. She’s extremely proud to be a part of the 30×30 Initiative, and is excited for the future.
“There’s a difference between saying we are trying to recruit, and then having something that publicly says that this is what we are doing,” Trump says. “We are saying we can do better, and we will do better. It makes us all better on a professional level, on a community level and across the nation.”
In Their Own Words: Officers of the Noblesville Police Department
Patrol Officer, Night Shift
“My favorite part of the job is honestly being able to interact with the community that I serve. As an officer, we typically come into contact with people during their worst moments or when we initiate traffic stops, both of which can be stressful situations.
Every day I strive to show the community that even though we as officers seem intimidating in our uniforms, underneath it all we are still humans. We are ordinary people that have chosen a job we love, with the hope to help those in need. Whenever I conduct a traffic stop, I have one rule. I leave the driver with a positive experience that either has them laughing or pulling away with a smile on their face. Life is stressful enough as it is, especially with this pandemic. There is no need to make an interaction with an officer another stressor.”
Patrol Officer 2nd Class, Patrol Division
“I chose to go into law enforcement because I wanted a job where I could give back to the community my entire family grew up in. I wanted a job where I could make a difference in people’s lives, as well as have a career in a field the younger generation looks up to. My favorite part of the job is the positive impact we can leave on someone’s life. Being able to give someone the resources to help them completely turn their life around when they are at their lowest can be so rewarding. I feel we are making positive impacts in the community by being role models to the younger generation.”
Sergeant, Patrol Division/Nights A
“As crazy as it may sound, after 11 years on the job, I still think this is the best career in the world. One of my favorite parts of this job is that every single day is different. You never know what each day will bring, but each day brings new opportunities and hope to interact with the community in a way that can have a lasting and positive impact on someone’s life. We often encounter people on some of the worst days of their lives. Even in those moments, we can still make a difference, which is what this job is all about.”
1st Patrol Officer, Patrol Division
“I knew when I was little I wanted to be in some form of law enforcement. When I was around 5 years old, I stole a package of Hubba Bubba roll-up tape gum. When I got to the car, my mom found it, called for a police officer, and made me talk to the officer about my actions. After she asked me if I had learned my lesson I told her, ‘I want to be a cop too.’ I grew up in Noblesville from the time I was 11 to now. One of my favorite impacts is when I see a little girl get super excited that there is a girl police officer, or when I get asked by teenagers, trying to figure out what they want to do in life, what it takes to be a police officer and what can they do to prepare for it. I want young women to know and see that you can be female, have a family and kids, and still work the job of your dreams.”