Women Peace Officers Discuss the Paths to Their Careers

In celebration of Women’s History Month, three CSI Peace Officers shared their stories of what it is like to be women on the force, and the factors that led them to the profession. Officers Laura Devine and Barbara Brancaccio and Corporal Genevieve Clark spoke in front of a full house in the Library Theatre yesterday, telling the audience of women and men about their lives and how much they enjoy a career that gives them the chance to serve the campus community. Paul Murtha, Director of the Office of Public Safety, served as the event’s emcee.

Officer Brancaccio, the only woman on CSI’s Bike Patrol, and a nine-year veteran at CSI, noted that her interest in becoming a Public Safety Officer began when she worked in the Registrar’s Office, located across the hall from Public Safety, and how she was envious of the Bike Patrol officers she saw, as she has always been active and fitness-oriented. Although she said that her job places her on call 24/7, Brancaccio added that as a Public Safety Officer, she has the opportunity to attend classes at CSI free of charge, and as a result, she will be receiving her Master’s in Women’s Studies in May. Officer Brancaccio concluded her talk with the advice, “Get an education, follow your passions, and challenge yourself.”

Officer Laura Devine, who has been part of the CSI Public Safety team since 2005, recalled influences in her life, like her Girl Scout leader, who was a member of the NYPD. She also mentioned that she had two Smurf characters as a child–one was a police officer and the other was a nurse. In the end, she not only became a Public Safety officer, but she also took on a sort of nurse roll by taking advantage of the free training offered by the College to become an Emergency Medical Technician. A self-described “people person,” Officer Devine called her job “one of the best kept City jobs,” noting that she, too, will be returning to school in September to continue work on her degree.

The event’s final speaker was Corporal Genevieve Clark, the first woman Peace Officer to be promoted to Supervisor at CSI. A 21-year veteran in law enforcement, five of which have been spent at CSI, Corporal Clark stated that she grew up in a high-crime area and it dawned on her that she never saw any woman police officers. Taking advice from her mother, she tried to correct that situation by becoming a cop, herself. Throughout her tenure at CSI, she has gained skills as a General Topics Instructor at the CUNY Public Safety Academy, she received her Basic Criminal Investigator certificate, and she became a Field Training Officer, passing her extensive expertise on the people who are new to the force. Although she said that as a woman she has to earn respect from civilians and fellow officers alike, Corporal Clark called law enforcement “a great job for women,” and added that “women are great for the job.” She is also attending classes, working on a Sociology degree.

The event ended with a question and answer session that allowed the women to respond to more specific questions from the attendees.

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