PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two top spots in the Philadelphia Police Department are now held by women: Christine Coulter, and Robin Wimberly.
Coulter was appointed a three-star Deputy Commissioner, in charge of Organizational Services, Wimberly, a two-star Deputy Commissioner.
“When he told me that I was one of his choice, I felt like a little kid on Christmas,” said Wimberly. “It’s exciting and challenging, and I am just ready to do the work.”
Both have more than 28 years on the job, and — coincidentally — graduated the same police academy class.
“When I was a kid, we didn’t have women police officers in Philadelphia, so it wasn’t something you look down the street and see someone riding in a police car,” said Coulter. “It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I thought this was something I would like to do.”
About 20% of the Philadelphia Police Department are female officers, but the pair say being a woman in a predominantly male department hasn’t been an issue for them.
“Whatever rank I am, I am that rank. I am not a female officer, so I don’t have room for anyone to treat me differently,” said Wimberly.
But both say leadership and mentorship is a top priority.
“One of my most rewarding days (was when) I was at the police academy, and there was a sergeant there, who told me that when she was a young girl, she used to see me patrolling her neighborhood,” says Coulter. “She’s now on the job.”
“This world is about relationships, so you need to encourage each other, bring each other along,” explains Wimberly. “Give yourself an opportunity and think outside the box. Don’t allow yourself to be put in a corner about what you can and cannot do.”
They encourage any women who are thinking about joining the department to apply.