Women in Criminal Justice Workforce

On Wednesday, March 29 at 2 p.m. in C-316, a
panel with female professionals in the criminal justice field took place to celebrate Women’s History

Featured speakers on the panel included Peru
Police Officer Randy Lenninger, who is also IVCC’s
School Resource Officer, Criminal Justice instructor
Jenny Bursell, Peru Police Detective Amy Sines, and
Peru Police Dispatcher Cristie Degroot.
The speakers were asked a plethora of questions,
ranging from how they got their start in the criminal
justice field to what their experience as a woman in
that field entailed.
Female audience members interested in pursuing
careers in criminal justice, were able to fain valuable
perspectives and knowledge to help with their future career paths.
When the speakers were asked how they knew
they wanted to be in the criminal justice field, the
most common theme in their answers was wanting
to help people and their community.
Officer Lenninger responded by stating, “As a
little kid, I decided I was going to be a police officer someday. My main goal was to do something to
make a difference in someone’s life.”
Detective Sines replied to the question by saying,
while her initial intention was to become an attorney, after taking some criminal justice classes, falling in love with the field, and especially after having
an unpleasant experience with a police officer, she
knew she had to rise to the challenge.
She said, “I wanted to make sure I did everything
I possibly could so that it didn’t happen to anyone
else. I decided I’d step up and take that role.”
Later in the panel, the speakers were asked if
they faced any difficulties being women in their
fields. The audience in the room was very attentive
and listened closely to the advice these women gave.
Instructor Bursell stated, “I feel like being female
is a positive thing that the departments are looking
for. We have tons of females working in the system,
which wasn’t the norm 20 years ago. I think it’s a
really good time for you ladies to get in the field.”
She said, however, in situations where a fight
breaks out, she felt as though the men were expecting her to get them to restrain the individual when
it was something she could handle on her own. Fortunately, after she proved herself, she didn’t face any
Dispatcher Degroot had a similar answer, replying, “As far as gender goes, once you establish yourself with your coworkers and they know they can
count on you, I feel as though we’re at an age where
we’re lucky gender doesn’t play as big of a role as it
used to. The hardest thing is that you still have an
older generation that looks down upon women in
authoritative positions.”
Detective Sines added to this by saying, in her
almost 20 years of service, she has seen that being
female is a strength.
Thanks to Officer Randy Lenninger, instructor
Jenny Bursell, Detective Amy Sines, and Dispatcher
Cristie Degroot, female IVCC students could gather
new perspectives on the profession and new information they can use to further their career paths.

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Women in Criminal Justice Workforce