“I think a lot of it, at any department, is getting your feet wet and proving yourself. I get it,” Brass said. “For me, I don’t care who we hire, if they are younger, older, male, female, whatever. … But (there is a culture where) you do have to prove yourself because it’s a job where I have to be able to rely on everyone around me to have my back if it comes down to it.”
Perceptions among the community
Now a corporal with the Scottsbluff Police Department, Brass writes a weekly column for the Star-Herald. One reader even asked her about being a woman in a law enforcement career, a topic Brass didn’t shy away from. Most often, she said, issues for women serving in law enforcement come not from counterparts, but from the general public.
She will respond to calls for service and people will ask for a male officer. There will oftentimes be people who do not want to talk to a woman, which can be common among certain cultures that stress masculinity.
“I wouldn’t say that it happens all the time, but it definitely happens,” she said, saying she has also had people use profanity and called her names.
When responding to some calls, she said, people will often suggest to her that she needs back up. She said she has even worked alongside male officers who are smaller stature than she is, and received the comment.