Rochester Police Department (RPD) shows unending support for communities in and around Rochester. Women make up 14% of sworn officers at RPD with nearly half being hired within approximately the last two years. RPD is committed to bringing more women to the force.
We connected with two female officers who are creating a tradition of female excellence at RPD. Lieutenant Jennifer Hodgman grew up locally in Dodge County and has served 17 years. Officer C. Powell has been with RPD for a year and a half. They shared about their careers, advice and future hopes.
Why did you choose law enforcement?
JH: I wanted the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the community and had a desire to help those who cannot help themselves. It’s a profession that I am proud to be a part of.
CP: I chose this career because I wanted to make a difference in my community. I love interacting with the community, and I love that my job challenges me to be a better person.
What are misconceptions of women in law enforcement?
JH: That we are heartless and insensitive. It is actually quite the opposite—we are very resilient. Often, just the presence of a woman helps deescalate a situation. Generally speaking, females have great communication skills, which is a complement to our male partners.
CP: That women cannot do this job at all. Women bring a lot to the table, and research has shown that women are great at deescalating situations and communicating effectively. Women are able to provide a different perspective.
What societal change have you seen as an officer?
JH: Dependence on body camera recordings and the advancement of technological systems developed to make our jobs more efficient.
CP: I started my career when COVID-19 started to spread. The lack of human interaction and procedural changes made for an interesting start to the job.
Who is your favorite superhero?
JH: Wonder Woman because she has the lasso of truth. She is a decisive woman with great strength and agility!
CP: Batman. He has an awesome car, and I love the movies.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
JH: Gardening and boating with family.
CP: True crime documentaries and podcasts.
Advice for girls who look up to you?
JH: Respect yourself. Even if no one sees you, look in the mirror and be happy with what you see.
CP: You can do anything you put your mind to.
Advice for women considering a career in law enforcement?
JH: Our profession needs you and so does Rochester Police Department
CP: You can do it! Don’t let anyone hold you back. There is so much to learn, and we need more strong women!
What makes you optimistic for the future?
JH: Watching the younger generation transform our culture into one that is flexible, transparent and forward thinking. The new generation of police officers are going to have to police differently as societal and cultural demands change. It’s exciting to see how they will shape the future of our profession.
CP: I’m always hopeful and positive about the future. I’m fortunate enough to have a great support system that encourages me to look forward to what’s to come. I’d like to start mentorships with minority youth in Rochester to develop better relationships with law enforcement.
What can readers do to show support for RPD?
JH: We are fortunate in our community to have great support. Thank you and we hear you!
CP: Participate in ride-alongs as soon as you are able. Having a better understanding of what officers do will help build supportive relationships. :