MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – They wear the same uniform, carry the same weapons. But there are different dangers facing female officers than their male counterparts.
This week, a survival course designed for women wearing badges came to Myrtle Beach for the first time. The intensive training is for officers from different agencies in the area. However, they all have one thing in common: being a woman in a workforce typically dominated by males.
"It's important to be prepared. To train and get into the mindset to do our jobs on the street," explained Angel Walker, an officer with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
Street officers like Walker know every day, no matter what gender you are, being a police officer can be dangerous. However, she says females do have certain advantages over their male co-workers.
"You often have other officers depend on you, for things like searching other females," she said.
But there are differences.
"This is for someone who is smaller, not as strong. And it gives techniques to be successful in every ground move," said Taylor Bennett with the Georgetown Police Department.
Instead of training with brute force, some of the moves focus on using more brain power keeping the female officers one step ahead of their offenders.
The training isn't saying women are less powerful, but that they have unique skills to make them successful and safe.
"With a male dominated field, we sometimes have skills that are different than males," explained Lt. Teena Gooding with the USCPD and the developer of the Female Officer Survival Course.
This includes quick thinking when in danger and using their smaller size to their advantage.
"Sometimes, you feel funny going up to a big guy and telling them to do something," admits Bennett.
The element of surprise can get the offender off the officer's back. To do this, the women wearing badges are learning to push pressure points and fast hand movements.
This is especially important during ground fights when their small size isn't on the side. So, the course focuses on defense tactics they are capable of doing.
"If you get down there, some people freeze. But, if you do this over and over, it is muscle memory. It will come natural to you," said Bennett.
The team didn't just train the women how to fight differently than men, but also focused on sharpening skills both genders need to keep safe. This includes target techniques with their weapons.
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