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LPD adds six women to force

Lawton_Lawton's police academy is in full swing, but this year's class looks a bit different - this class boasts six women.  It's more than any class before, and more women than there are currently on the police force.  The women easily kept up with the men on Thursday.

Chief Ronnie Smith says that of the 50 applicants, he chose 12.  Allison Sickles is a rookie - a former E911 dispatcher who finally got her chance to get on the force after a few years of trying.  She says she was worried about proving herself to the male officers.  "I thought it would be a little different, that the males would have a problem with it, but it's fine," she said.  "Everyone is really supportive."

Smith says that hiring the six women is something he didn't have to about twice.  "We need more females on the police department, and we just had a really good group of applicants," said Lieutenant Donnie Hanson.  "It just fell that some of the best candidates were female." 

Having six women in the academy isn't the only exciting thing for the department this year.  Having the academy back in Lawton is a big deal.  The city hasn't hosted it since 1992 - instead, the class has had to train in Ada, Oklahoma.  "I've been the chief for three years now, and I've been trying to get this CLEET academy since I became chief.  It's finally a reality," said Smith.  "I'm just very, very excited that Lawton has gotten back to having an academy.  We're just so proud of it."

A few of the rookies already have had quite a bit of exposure to the law.  Five of the men have law enforcement experience, and three of the women are former dispatchers.  The academy takes place at the Great Plains Technology Center.  They broke ground last year on a brand new training facility.  They hope to have next year's academy in a new building that is currently under construction.

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