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Abilene Police Department seeks female applicants

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ABILENE, Texas - The Abilene Police Department is hiring officers and encouraging women to apply.

Out of 216 sworn officers in the department, only 14 of them are women. Two females are currently going through the academy to join the force.

Kathi Rhodes was with APD from 1988 until she retired in 2013. She remembers wanting to be a police officer since she was eight years old.

"I stuck with it. I went to college for it. It was just something I always wanted to do," Rhodes said.

Once she started, she realized there were still challenges for female officers on patrol.

"The men you meet on the street don't always want to take a female seriously, so you have to let them know that you are serious and you are there for the same reason as everybody else," Rhodes said.

Even with violence against police making headlines in recent years, Rhodes said if she could do it all again now, she would still apply.

"Some days are harder than others. There are different instances where I feel more pressure because I'm a woman than probably a man would," said Laine Strickland, an APD patrol officer. "But in other ways it's a good thing because I think being a female, I have the ability to communicate a little better sometimes than some of the male officers do."

Strickland has been with APD for just shy of a year now but encouraged other women to apply.

"Female officers can be some of the best cops out there, just from our dynamic of being able to communicate really well and just offering that difference in the streets," Strickland said.

The deadline to apply is May 19. The requirements and application can be found on the APD's website.

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