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For the curious, ‘Women’s Boot Camp’ offers insight into police career

So you’re considering a career with the Metropolitan Police Department?

Recruiters tried to clarify the path there to a group of prospective hires who participated in the agency’s free “Women’s Boot Camp” Saturday.

Decked in Lu‘au attire — the event’s theme — roughly 16 women began the morning session with a “cadence run” before they split into groups for physical and defensive training classes at Metro’s northwest valley police substation.

They received goody bags, ate lunch and heard from commissioned police officers and civilian staffers who highlighted Metro’s career possibilities.

The event was part of Metro’s efforts to recruit a diverse workforce. It also offered an opportunity for participants to see where they’re at physically.

Johanna Garcia, who works at a childcare facility, said she has considered a law enforcement career for a long time.

“I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes, because I’ve been a little scared to join the academy and go through all the process,” she said about the camp.

The 21-year-old said she tossed and turned in bed the night before because she imagined the camp would involve getting screamed at.

Garcia instead received positive reinforcements from recruiters who pushed her to complete the training, including going over a “kind-of-scary” wall jump, she noted.

“I had a lot of fun,” she said. “I came here and it went smooth.”

Garcia credited a recruiter for convincing her to participate in the camp and encouraged others to try it out.

“You guys got this,” she said. “It’s not as scary as you think it is, don’t quit; everybody is there to motivate you.”

This was not the first women-centered boot camp.

“We like to do these boot camps to give women an opportunity to come in and be able to learn about the different opportunities we have with Metro,” Officer Laura Villicana told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

She noted that the department’s recruiting arm hosts regular, similar events such as twice-weekly physical sessions open to the community at large.

The police academy is a bit more stringent, but the training offers participants a chance to get a taste and to examine and improve their physicality, Villicana said.

Villicana herself attended a boot camp prior to joining the department in 2019.

“It was very beneficial to come in and kind of get to really ask questions that maybe they wouldn’t get an opportunity to ask (otherwise),” she said.

The Latina officer said she wanted to be a cop since she was a child inspired by the pink Power Rangers character. She said she found a purposeful career helping Spanish-speaking residents and the community at large.

As the valley expands, it’s important the police department keeps up, she said.

“Our city keeps growing,” Villicana said. “It’s growing, growing, growing, so we need to make sure that our department is also growing, because we want to make sure that we have those numbers in order to be able to keep everyone here safe.”

For more information, visit protectthecity.com.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com.

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