FIRST FEMALE OFFICER JOINS POLICE FORCE IN KOSRAE

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By Olivier Wortel

TOFOL, Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia (January 23, 2002 - The Kaselehlie Press)---On December 10, Ruth M. Martin was sworn in as the first female officer in Kosrae State history.

Kosrae Public Safety felt the need to have a female police officer on the force to assist in the increasing number of cases involving both female suspects and victims. And, as Chief of Police Jeff M. Timothy put it, "crimes don’t separate between male and female.

According to Attorney General Ron Bickett, it was also important that the six females out of the 66 applicants "not be given preferential treatment."

Mr. Timothy echoed the sentiment. "It was always in my mind to hire a female officer, if she met the qualifications. I did not hire (Ruth) just for that sake in itself. I wanted her to go through all the requirements to make sure she was qualified in all respects."

Ms. Martin is qualified. She was one of the six finalists who passed the written and oral exams, interviews, background check, age requirement, and the physical condition test. In addition, she recently completed her Army military service -- from 1998 through 2001 -- returning from Louisiana to Kosrae last August.

Ms. Martin’s co-workers and supervisors describe her as ambitious, diligent, tough, determined, and "a good leader showing a lot of initiative to help in any way possible."

I met her at the Public Safety building on a Monday afternoon, where she spoke in a calm, Southern accent about her new job.

What made you interested in becoming a police officer?

"I just wanted to become a government employee at first, but someone in this department told me that there was a spot for a female, so I applied for it. I wasn’t sure I was going to be selected, but as of right now, it’s good. I think I can do it."

How does your military experience help you with being a police officer?

Being in the military, it really helps me. I think that’s one of the sources they used to get me selected. The dress code is the same. I wore a uniform then too. And also time. To be on time, that’ really a big part of it."

Tell me about some of the reactions you’ve had from people in the communities. What’s the reaction to a policewoman?

"Some people are laughing, some are smiling; but my friends they congratulate me. And I know they like that I am the first policewoman here in Kosrae. Though some reactions may be negative, I’ve got a positive attitude. I know I can do it, so let them laugh."

What kinds of things have you responded to?

"I was with another police officer, and he made the arrests. I was just there for support. Right now I’m just waiting for a female suspect.

So you will be handling those cases that involve females?

"Yes."

What do you think is the advantage of a female police officer dealing with female-related crimes?

"That is what I’m here to do, check on female-related crimes. I can get certain information and talk with a woman when a man can’t, regarding different customs and traditions."

Do you see yourself as a role model?

"Yes, I do see myself as a role model because if I can do it, other females can do it. This is not a hard job. Yeah it’s a hard job, but it’s not only for males. The people in Kosrae, they might think this is a male job, but it’s not. It’s for everybody. We, the females, can do it also."

How do your coworkers view you on the job?

"I think they view me as a police officer. I’m new; I’m still new, trying to figure it out. I think they are all pleased with my performance."

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