SIDNEY — Sidney Police Officer Rachel Croskrey finds a certain level of accomplishment working in what she describes as a male-dominated workforce.
Croskrey sought a career in law enforcement due to a combination of wanting to help people when they needed it most, a desire to learn about the lives of diverse people, and because the career fit her rule-loving personality. She is currently the fourth-ever female police officer within the Sidney Police Department.
“I find a great deal of pride in holding the position of the fourth ever female police officer at (the department). There are a lot of opportunities for me here and much of what I do is a first,” Croskrey said.
For instance, Croskrey is trained as the department’s first female forensic interviewer for children, specifically regarding sex and violent offenses. With the majority of reported sex offenders being male, Croskrey says that it’s crucial that the interviewer will not potentially trigger unneeded trauma in the victim.
Croskrey is also serving as the department’s first female officer in the hostage negotiation role. She added that with the majority of domestic violence victims being female, it’s imperative for their comfort and privacy to have a female officer photograph any injuries in sensitive locations for evidence purposes.
Additionally, at times citizens will request to speak to female officers due to their varying levels of comfort with men.
Croskrey added that women working as officers in the department have to meet the same standards of the physical fitness test as male officers. This has pushed her to prepare every year to achieve the standard she wants.
“Despite the fact that I’m petite and people often say I don’t ‘look’ like a cop I still do better than some of the men on our physical fitness test,” Croskrey said.
One thing that has surprised Croskrey is that she isn’t treated differently on the street for being a female officer as often as she had expected. When those situations arise, she’s found that taking a professional approach has worked best.
“If there is a situation in which I’m treated differently because I’m a woman, I will often see if I can still perform my basic functions despite the disrespect. If they refuse to speak to me at all, then I call a male coworker to assist. I try not to let ego get in the way and stoop to their level by providing a reaction other than professional,” Croskrey said.
In 2021, the Sidney Police Department hired two more female officers to their staff — something that has excited Croskrey, as the department shifts toward a more diverse staff that represents the community they serve.
“Diversity in personality, gender, religion, race, culture, education, and much more is so important to serving the whole community. It feels amazing to be a part of the shift towards a more diverse department; it’s been needed for a long time,” Croskrey said.
In 2022, Croskrey will be working toward increasing the department’s diversity through researching, recruiting, and seeing what can be done to better recruit more diverse applicants.