By Bill Carey
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DALLAS — Almost 10 years ago, what first began as an informal group of female Dallas police officers has now become the newest official union in the city.
Officer Jennifer Atherton is the president of the newly formed Dallas Police Women’s Association, CBS Texas reported.
Atherton said a line from the movie “The Heat” about “it’s hard being a woman in law enforcement” hit home with them. The lack of representation for female officers, according to Atherton, made some believe their voices were not being heard or taken seriously, prompting the formation of the group.
The officers’ first challenge was the lack of lactation rooms in substations.
“Women were sitting at substations on the toilet, which is, I mean… there are laws about this, right?” said Atherton. Female officers found empty rooms that were unused at substations and cleaned them, painted them and had furniture donated.
They also asked for ballistic vests designed to fit women. They found that the current vests were uncomfortable and didn’t fit correctly.
Now that the group is officially a union, they are focused on changing the culture. A poll of women working for the Dallas Police Department found that nearly everyone had faced some sort of discrimination or harassment in their careers.