“I joined the department because of the opportunities to experience various career paths. Captain Gail Stewart was the first ranking female that I met in the department. When I first came to the Sixth District as a rookie officer, she immediately talked to me about advancing and preparing myself for a leadership position,” said Commander Charnette Robinson, who works for Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Executive Office of the Chief of Police and serves as the Office of Unified Communications liaison.
Commander Robinson is currently the longest serving female sworn member at MPD. With over 30 years of experience, she has worked in several patrol units, Criminal Investigations, Youth Investigations, School Safety Division, and Homeland Security.
“I have had a very full and diverse career,” said Robinson. “I think that women are sometimes perceived as strict or hard, but that usually is not the case. Leadership is challenging and you must meet the needs of several in order to get the job done.”
There have always been stereotypes about women in law enforcement. The two myths that a lot of female officers face, is that it’s impossible to be a mother and a police officer while working varying shifts.
“To women wanting a career in law enforcement, prepare for the job by visiting police stations. Sit through roll call and talk to other women as this career is different for everyone. For example, as a parent you may not be there for every football game, basketball game, or parent-teacher association (PTA) meeting,” said Robinson. “You will need a strong family support system. Enjoy your career and remember to take care of yourself and your family.”
The second myth is that career paths for women police are limited. Females in MPD are provided the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Commander Robinson’s career proves that women can achieve high ranking positions and success in their police career. Female officers can become high ranking officials to include Commanders, Assistant Chiefs and yes, even the Chief of Police.
“Engage with women as mentors and learn as much as possible about careers in law enforcement. Invest in your career, study and learn about policing and the community you serve,” said Robinson.