An unusual development occurred with the swearing in of a small group of fresh police recruits earlier this month: 75 percent of the new Marshall Islands Police Department officers were women.
The group of four included three female recruits — Marcela Benjamin, Pamela Rubon and Hezline Taie — and one male, Kraben Hampton Jr. The four are now officially part of the force.
The fact there are three more females on the MIPD force is “a good thing,” said Deputy Commissioner Robson Almen. It is a challenge for MIPD since there are not many women who want to join the force, he said, adding: “We don’t know why.”
Almen said during the recruitment process applicants tend to find another job or change their mind altogether. The fact is the MIPD does not deal with men alone, with domestic cases that usually involve women; for instance, there is a need for female officers to work with victims of violence. “We are still hiring,” Almen informed the Journal.
Of the 187 on the MIPD force, 15 are female.
Benjamin, who is the only female officer in the Corrections Division, and Hampton, who is in the Traffic Investigation Division, underlined the short-staffed situation as well. During roadblocks, for example, traffic and patrol divisions are often combined, but this leaves the patrol work short of hands, Hampton explained.
With the current system the MIPD is on, where most paperwork is filed and stored manually, there is also the need for a change here, said Rubon and Hampton, whose specialty is in Information Technology. But perhaps the one thing that may daunt applicants is the minimum wage pay that barely covers the amount of overflowing work. Knowing this, Rubon who formerly served in the US army, still took the oath to protect and serve her home, she said.
Rubon and Benjamin both believe that having more women in the force is a benefit to the community. Benjamin, who underwent vocational training, further shows that women are able to work in fields that are predominantly male-oriented. Benjamin was also interested in working directly with prisoners, as female officers will be needed once the new prison is built with separate facilities for women.
Read more about this in the September 27, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.