Women in law enforcement: Part 1

Officer Amber Cole works third shift in the Grand Blanc Township Police Department.

It is a Mother's Day observance that was, at best, a rare occurrence just a few decades ago. But on this Mother's Day, several local women are being honored and remembered for an entirely different reason.

â??Nothing better than seeing your children do well,â?? Janet Cole said. In Janetâ??s case, that wish to her daughter, Amber, is coupled with a daily, deep-rooted concern over her safety.

Amber Cole is Officer Cole of the Grand Blanc Township Police Department.

â??You just don't stop worrying about your children no matter how old they are,â?? Janet said.

â??She's like any other mom,â?? Amber described her mother. â??She wants to make sure her kids are safe and happy.â??

â??Safeâ?? is the key word in Janetâ??s case.

Her daughter, like thousands of men and women across Michigan, daily put their lives on the line to uphold their solemn oath to "protect and serve."

Jane said, â??I try to tell her, â??Don't tell me the things I probably don't want to know. Good things? Great!â??â??

â??She doesn't like hearing about the things that go on at work,â?? Amber said. â??I try to shield her as much as I can.â??

Janet describes Amber as very self-sufficient. â??She does not like to ask for help from anyone. She will be the first that will go out and help anybody.â??

Amber described the initial challenges she faced as a female officer.

â??It took a while for some to warm up to me. Some were old school. And they said â??Ah, I don't think that women should be in police work.â?? Took a little while to win them over, I guess.â??

Women in law enforcement is a professional transition that had its beginnings in the 19th century. Yet, today, there are estimates that females make up only 12 percent of the entire police workforce.

â??The public sees us as â??Sweetie, Honey and Baby,â?? and, you know, we're just like the guy that's standing next to us. And we're wearing the same uniform. We're just a different sex,â?? Amber said.

Across town, in Genesee County's Clayton Township, Sergeant Charlotte Brown takes to the road and, like Officer Cole, accepts the responsibilities and demonstrates her skills and training in what was once a totally male dominated profession.

â??It was really competitive, you know, with the guys. You had to come out here and show that I can do this job, just like a male can do this job. It was rough sometimes,â?? Brown said.

â??I had to show them that I could do this job like they do this job.â??

Sgt. Brown says she knew she wanted a career in law enforcement since grammar school. Almost 25 years later, a mother and grandmother, she still loves what she does.

â??In the beginning, it was a job for me. It was a job with benefits to take care of my children. Now, it's fun,â?? Brown said.

Brown plans to spend Motherâ??s Day with her family while Officer Cole, who works third shift, will try to capture some precious sleep before reporting to work Sunday.

Both, however, will remember, and be remembered on this very special day.

â??I know my children are proud of me. I know my grandchildren are extremely proud of me and in reverse I'm extremely proud of them,â?? Sgt. Brown said.

â??Amber, I, um, want to let you know that I've enjoyed every day of your life and I expect to enjoy every day of the rest of my life having you as my daughter,â?? Janet Cole told her daughter.

Officer Cole told her, â??Mom, I love you. Happy Mom's Day. I'm probably not going to be able to spend it with you because I'll be sleeping. But I love you.â??