Lexie Enget has always wanted to be a police officer.
“I just wanted to be able to take care of my community and be around everybody in the community and just get to learn about it more,” says Enget.
And she has plenty of company at the Williston Police Department. Ten of the department’s 50 officers, or 20% of the force, is female.
Higher than the Bureau of Justice Statistics national average of 12 percent.
“The communication level of our female officers is superior. Our empathy level of our female officers. Their ability to become compassionate with our victims that we serve,” says Williston Police Department Captain David Peterson.
Research also suggests female officers are less likely to use force or have excessive use of force complaints filed against them.
“On scene, I know from my own experience, that I’m able to use my words to calm down the situation rather than going hands-on with someone,” says WPD Lieutenant Detective Nickoloff.
Nickoloff has been with the department for the past seven years. During that time, she has experienced some on the job challenges.
“I remember being on a scene with my unit that I was assigned to and responding to a call and all the males instantly responded to back me up. They tend to, just from my experience, until you prove yourself as a female officer, they’ll back you but you’ll tend to get more people backing you than an average male officer would,” says Nickoloff.
But Nickoloff has proven herself on the job. She was the first female to make sergeant and then the first to be named a lieutenant.
“A funny quote that my 9-year-old son said to me is Mom, you made history becoming the first female sergeant and lieutenant and that’s what I want to do in my lifetime,” says Nickoloff.
But Nickoloff isn’t done making history just yet.
“One day I hope to be the first female captain of the Williston Police Department,” she says.
For the department, the emphasis is less on hiring more female officers. And more on simply finding the best person for the job.
The Minot Police Department has comparable figures. 21% of its 80 police officers are female.