Before you start, let me say that I am 100 percent for equal opportunity. It’s just the definition of “equal” that I seem to have a disagreement with.
A recent article about a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit accusing the city of Corpus Christi’s police department of “unfair” hiring practices because too few women could pass the physical requirements really got my blood boiling.
I was on the line for many years. I have worked with both men and women who were unfit for the job of law enforcement. I worked at a time when the requirements were being changed to get more women into the ranks of the Border Patrol. The obstacle course was changed because too few women could climb the wall and climb the ropes. The height and weight requirements were completely scrapped.
The other day I drove through a Border Patrol checkpoint. Standing on primary was a female agent who was, no joke, just about 5 feet tall and maybe a hundred pounds. The first thing in my mind was the question of “What could she do if I was in a life and death struggle with a smuggler that was too much for my 6”1′ and 210 (at the time I was on the line) pounds of muscle?”
The answer is jump up and down and scream for help!
I am sorry that there are jobs that are too physical for most women. Not all women, mind you, just most of them. I once worked with a female agent named, Joanne Andrioli, who was as tough as nails. I have seen her slap the taste out of the mouth of a male she was arresting and who didn’t want to comply. I would and did work with her in some of the toughest areas of Laredo at a time when there was a fistfight or gunfire every other night.
On the other hand I worked with some that I simply refused to go to the River with. One of them refused to go to the River with me because she would get her shiny boots muddy. Hey, lady, that’s what the job requires. Do it, or get an office job.
Arresting resisting suspects is part of the job of a law enforcement officer. It requires strength and agility. Chasing those same suspects requires the ability to perform those things that have been removed from the O-course. I once arrested a juiced up alien on the top of a house in downtown Laredo. The fight that followed is one of the most rugged that I care to remember.
Another time I was in a hand-to-hand with an armed drug smuggler. I finally got control of the his gun and ended the fight, but it was nip and tuck for a couple of centuries. A female agent of the size of the one on the checkpoint would have been dead, assuming she had the intestinal fortitude to be there in the first place, and if she had any brains, she wouldn’t be.
Another thing that is necessary and that can prevent physical confrontations is called “officer presence.” It is hard for a lady that can barely see over the steering wheel of the car to be intimidating.
Yes, I am for equal opportunity, but that also means equal ability. It is time this nation came to its senses and realized the difference. Lowering the standards just lowers the ability of the agency involved to get the job done.