Women in Law Enforcement Open House inspires young Duluth women

Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 5:32 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. -- Four-year-old Maelyn Mertz from Duluth dreams of becoming a police officer when she is older.

“Obviously she is only four, but I want her to know that she can do anything,” said Lindsay Mertz, mother of Maelyn Mertz.

Lindsay Mertz brought her to the Duluth Police Department’s first-ever Women in Law Enforcement Open House at the Public Safety Building on Saturday.

It was a chance to talk with the DPD’s women officers, tour the building, and get an inside look into a day in the life of a woman officer in Duluth.

“I never want her to be influenced that it’s just a male-dominated field, or even a female-dominated field, I want her to be comfortable and confident in what she wants to do,” said Mertz.

Mertz hopes to show her daughter that she can do anything she sets her mind to.

“Whether it’s any kind of sport, or career, or different activities if she wants to pursue something we are going to do anything we can to help her,” Mertz said.

The DPD has been growing its female staff for the last few years. Women now make up around 18% of the law enforcement officers in Duluth.

“When we have more women in law enforcement, we have the ability to see things so different and approach things differently,” said Laura Marquardt, the Duluth Deputy Chief of Police. “There is no right or wrong, it’s just different, but it creates better outcomes.”

And they hope events like this will keep that momentum going.

“If they come into our department and experience it the way we actually experience it on a day to day, it becomes so much different,” said Marquardt.

Motivating women of all ages, like Maelyn Mertz, to follow their dreams even if it feels unattainable.

“If it gives you any kind of interest try it out once, if you don’t like it move on to the next thing,” said Mertz. “If you want to keep on learning about it, keep doing it.”