Women in Federal Law Enforcement held its 19th Annual Leadership Conference June 25-28, 2018 at the Westin Mission Hills in Palm Springs, California. Over 300 women representing federal, state and local law enforcement agencies participated. The Deputy Director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Thomas E. Brandon was this year’s keynote speaker and spoke on the importance of addressing gender bias at ATF and law enforcement in general.
This year’s agenda focused on a number of issues facing law enforcement in the United States. The anti Defamation League provided instruction on Managing Implicit Bias for Law Enforcement and The Changing Landscape of Extremism in America. The Team from ATF and Oregon State Police who responded to the Umpqua Community College Shooting provided lessons learned, and the Drug Enforcement Administration provided some of the latest information on Opioids. Dr. Helen Yu from the University of Hawai’i- Mannoa presented her research findings on Work-Life Balance: Myth or Reality in Federal Law Enforcement, which continues to be the number one barrier for women in federal law enforcement. In addition, there were sessions on Crisis Communication, Conducting investigations involving Female Genital mutilation and retirement planning,
On Wednesday evening, we celebrated the accomplishments of women in law enforcement, which includes our highest award, the Julie Y. Cross Award for Valor. This year WIFLE recognized two women for their bravery and perseverance. The first was Special Agent Crystal Griner of the United States Capitol Police for her heroic response on June 14, 2017, when a lone gunman opened fire on approximately 25 members of the Republican Baseball Team practicing on the field. Our second recipient was Port Director Jennifer Bradshaw of the United States Customs and Border Protection who oversaw emergency response efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Island during Hurricanes Irma and Maria. When these devastating storms made landfall, Bradshaw made extraordinary efforts to account for all personnel, and provide food, water and other necessities to employees, their families, and local communities. Over a 4-day period, Ms. Bradshaw and her team also assisted seven different orphanages (housing more than 120 children), which were without generators, food and running water. Ms. Bradshaw and her team repaired broken generators, provided fuel for the generators, water and Meals-Ready-to-Eat to help sustain the orphanages.
Our training concluded with our Flash Mentoring Session, which allows women to be meet mentors from the various agencies. Each participant has the opportunity to meet with four different mentors to discuss issues from work life balance to how to make your own opportunities.
In 2019, WIFLE will celebrate its 20th anniversary as a non-profit organization and will hold its Leadership training in Arlington, Virginia July 15-18, 2019.