The Denison Police Department recently welcomed four new officers to its force, two of which are the Department’s first women officers in seven years.

The Denison Police Department recently welcomed four new officers to its force, two of which are the Department’s first women officers in seven years.


The new officers are Ridge Gargasz, Shane Culp, Victoria Giovannello and Holly Jenkins.


Officers Gargasz and Culp have been employed with the city of Denison since June and have filled vacant positions within the Department. Officers Giovannello and Jenkins will start employment Monday. They fill two positions recently approved by the Denison City Council in the fiscal budget for 2013-2014.


Three of the four officers have military experience: Gargasz is enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves, Giovannello is an Air Force veteran, and Jenkins is a former member of the Missouri National Guard. After having worked as both a military and civilian police officer, Jenkins said she is used to working in the male-dominated field of law enforcement.


"I don’t see them as male officers, I see them as my brothers," Jenkins said. "You can’t be intimidated in this line of work."


Because of the lack of diversity in the force, the Denison PD began a recruiting effort geared toward women and minorities.


"We are seeing the efforts of our strong recruiting program pay off and will continue working toward our goal to have a department more representative of our community," DPD Chief Jay Burch said.


Part of the reason the Denison PD has had trouble recruiting women may be because of the lack of female locker rooms, Burch said. A remodeling plan will soon begin that will add female locker rooms to the Denison Police building. Temporary accommodations are being made for the female officers in the meantime.


Aside from the locker rooms, Burch said he does not know why the Denison PD has had trouble recruiting female officers.